Madame Delphine LaLaurie’s House Of Horrors And Her Legacy Of Unspeakable Cruelty

There’s a fire in the heart of New Orleans. The date is April 10, 1834. Smoke fills the air, and those in the French Quarter who follow the trail of plumes find a house ablaze. This isn’t just any old house, though: it’s the residence of one Madame Delphine LaLaurie. To people’s relief, the woman has made it out alive. Yet her slaves are noticeable by their absence.

LaLaurie's mansion ablaze

LaLaurie is a notable figure in New Orleans society. When things go up in smoke for regular folks it’s a tragedy; for someone of her status, a fiery fate results in one heck of a financial loss. She desperately tries to save her possessions. Even so, the property contains human souls, not just expensive jewelry.  

Where are the slaves?

The slaves are nowhere to be found, and onlookers can't help but wonder if they're still trapped in the burning home. This may have been an age of normalized racism, but that didn't mean they won't attempt to save the lives of the people inside. One group of would-be rescuers bravely ventures into the house; the situation is life or death. They make their way through the property as the fire rages.

The rescue party

Anything could happen. Around them, the grandness of LaLaurie’s residence is slowly disintegrating. There’s a constant threat that the structure might collapse in on itself before they make it back out. And as the rescuers enter, they are in danger from black smoke entering their lungs. A 70-year-old cook is reportedly found chained to the stove; worryingly there is also no sign of the other slaves as yet. The party moves upstairs. 

A frustrating and fiery search

It’s a place that was no doubt impressive, though everyone knew the luxury was maintained by slaves. A sense of increasing dread was undoubtedly setting over them, still yet to find any evidence of the other survivors among the flames. Where could they possibly be? There was only one place left to look: the search party headed for the attic.