La Maison Du Lalaurie
In the mid-1980's the famous haunted LaLaurie
House1140 Royal Street, was owned by a pair
of prominent local physicians. Sociable and
popular with staffers, the pair often hosted
house parties in the infamous old mansion
that they had made into an inviting home.
Lalaurie House Plackard
The size of the home was daunting and the
new owners immediately designated a part of
it for use as storage and overflow; this section
abutted the other houses on Royal Street,
while the physicians chose to live in the
Governor Nicholls street side.
Many a ghostly tale recorded
here since the mid 1830’s and apparitions
and oddities still go on there today! 1140
Rue Royale, "La maison est hanté!"
According to the verifiable report of Cathy,
a local radiologist who was often a guest
at the doctors' numerous gatherings, there
were always strange and unexplainable events
taking place in the home. Among these were
unexplained footsteps on a blocked attic stairway
near the bathroom in a remote part of the
upstairs interior, disembodied voices in some
of the guest bedrooms, and unexplained movements
in the empty attic spaces.
One of the most unique experiences was witnessed
by Cathy and one of the home's owners: while
taking a cigarette break out on the interior
balcony - overlooking the infamous courtyard
where mutilated slaves were allegedly buried
- both Cathy and the doctor distinctly heard
the sound of children laughing accompanied
by invisible feet running over the worn courtyard
bricks. When she asked whether some children
had been invited to the party, Cathy was told
that what she was hearing was the sound of
ghostly children; according to the doctor,
they had been heard frequently and weren't
shy about how many people were around.
Madame Marie Delphine Macarty
Another ghost that evidently wasn't shy was
that of a female who appeared shortly after
restoration of a downstairs fireplace uncovered
a rolled up parchment which, when opened,
was discovered to be the rendering, in charcoal,
of the now-famous portrait of Madame Delphine
LaLaurie. After the discovery, strange activity
began to occur in the renovated room with
tools and paintbrushes disappearing and even
drop cloths being found bundled in fireplace
grate (unburned, of course) by the morning
work crews. One local carpenter claimed to
have been scared "back into" his
drinking problem by the appearance of a misty
"grey lady" standing at the foot
of his ladder one afternoon. After feeling
a tug at his trouser leg, the man looked down
into a grey mist with "a creepy set"
of glaring eyes. As he watched, the mist dissipated.
Within minutes, the worker was out of the
house and heading for the nearest bar to drown
his fear in rum. Many believed this manifestation
to be that of Madame LaLaurie, looking disapprovingly
at the changes being made to "her"
Lalaurie Ghost Photo 2006,
To this day, this house is considered to be
the most haunted in the city. It is said that
on dark, stormy nights, one can still hear
the scream of a young girl echoing down into
Cathy never personally experienced the female
ghost but she did have an "unforgettable"
encounter with another entity when her physician
friends eventually sold the home and she was
helping them pack. Cathy was asked to go into
the unused "storage" side of the
house where there were stacks of books and
medical journals that needing sorting and
packing. Arriving with several boxes in tow,
Cathy got right to work. This is what happened,
in her own words:
"It was a creepy day and it had been
raining so there wasn't much light up there.
I found a lamp without a shade and used that
to sort the JAMA books and the other stuff
and at first I was really absorbed in the
packing so I wasn't immediately aware of anything
strange going on. The room I was in was really
big but it was separated by a set of large
sliding doors, the kind with the smoked glass
in them that go back into the wall. Anyway,
at one point I felt the room get really chilly;
it just felt like something wasn't right.
I was working with my back to the empty room,
behind the sliding doors, and gradually I
began to feel uncomfortable with this, so
I turned around and began to work facing the
"At one point I glanced up and it looked
kind of like someone had put a light on in
the other room, but since there were a bunch
of staffers who were supposed to arrive and
help with the move, I didn't really think
anything about it. I stooped down to sort
some books that were on the floor and lifted
up a bunch to put them in a box and I stopped
short. A creepy feeling came over me all of
a sudden because I looked up and realized
that one of the sliding doors was open!
"I stepped over to one foot and looked
into the room but didn't see anybody in there,
but I started to feel like I wanted to hurry
and get done, just get out of there. I started
putting books into boxes in no particular
order, just jamming them in and trying to
keep from looking at the door. But unfortunately,
at one point I felt this urge to look and
my mouth just fell open!"
Standing there, with his hand braced on the
doorframe, was a vaporous male figure, appearing
more solid around the shoulders and waist,
but WITH NO VISIBLE LEGS. His hair was longish
and slicked to the side and he had a neat
beard like those popular among gentlemen of
the 1800's. He was wearing white shirt with
a scarf or colored ruffle around the neck
and a gold-toned waistcoat; Cathy could just
see the top of his brown pants.
"He just stood there and looked at me
with this look like, 'what's going on here?'
and then he tilted his head and just disappeared!"
Cathy relates that she wasn't scared at first,
but then was struck by the "delayed reaction"
of what had just happened. "I got the
hell out there!" she says. "I ran
downstairs so fast I don't think that ghost
could have caught me if he tried and I wouldn't
go back up there until a couple of male nurses
agreed to go with me and get the packing done!"
The doctors greeted Cathy's story with a wry
exchange and confided that they, too, had
seen the ghostly man when they had gone into
the disused part of the house. One of them
told her that he had even smelled and seen
the smoke from a pipe or cigar lingering in
the empty air when he had gone in search of
something one late afternoon.
The owners both believed the ghost to be that
of Dr. Leonard LaLaurie, the doting husband
of Madame LaLaurie who escaped with her to
Paris after the slave torture debacle of April
1834. They suggested that he appeared frequently
because he liked the fact that physicians
were living in his home. At any rate, they
claimed that although they had grown used
to the activity in the home while they lived
there they did not, however, regret moving
when the opportunity presented itself.
Madame LaLaurie and her husband, Dr. Leonard
LaLaurie, were vilified and subjected to mob
violence when reports were circulated that
they had tortured, abused and even killed
several of their slaves in their years at
the home on Royal and Governor Nicholls. To
read more about the continuing debate about
the circumstances surrounding this sensational
event, and the haunting of the LaLaurie House
for years afterward.