Turn the corner and you’ll be looking at the LaLaurie Mansion on Royal Street, the most haunted mansion in New Orleans.
Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, this place has a singularly macabre history. Here’s the short of it: The home’s owner, Marie Delphine MaCarthy, aka Madame LaLaurie, and her husband purchased the mansion in 1831. Of course at this time in history, slaves were legal, and LaLaurie’s slaves appeared particularly haggard looking to other French Quarter citizens. In 1836, a 12-year-old slave girl leapt from the second story to avoid a beating, and died.
In 1834 there was a fire. Later, it would be found that a 70-year-old slave cook set fire to the kitchen in a suicide attempt. She had been chained to the stove, and, rather than catch punishment, decided to set the place on fire. Turns out there was a punishment room upstairs that slaves entered but never left.
New Orleanians, rushed to the burning LaLaurie mansion, attempting to evacuate the building — particularly the slaves quarters. The LaLaruies didn’t want to let them in, so the citizens busted down the doors and found seven horribly mutilated slaves; some were hanging, others had their limbs stretched torture-rack like, another had a deep head wound. Two bodies were found buried in the walls.
After seeing the horrors inside, a mob formed, tearing apart the mansion and chasing the vile couple out of town. Madame LaLaurie fled to Paris and died there without having to face her crimes.
Hopefully those ghosts won’t move on over to a bigger, richer setting. But if they do, there’s certainly room.