The Grave Horrors of the LaLaurie Mansion “Torture Chambers”

Aliya Ojuade
4 min readSep 24, 2020


LaLaurie Mansion
Image Credits: BlackPast


It still exists today, that mansion. In fact, you can visit it in New Orleans, Lousiana this very second.

The events that occurred in this mansion were monstrous — horrendous, as a matter of fact. You will be aggravated, perhaps disturbed, just as I was upon hearing such an atrocity. In this article, I will be talking about an 1800s torture chamber, well known as the LaLaurie Mansion.

LaLaurie’s Background

Delphine LaLaurie
Image Credits: HeadStuff

Delphine LaLaurie — ah, where do I begin? She is now known as one of the most brutal women in history. When you Google her name today, she comes up labeled as a “serial killer.” And she was a serial killer, to say the least.

Facts about her childhood are unclear. Some say her father was murdered by a slave, others say it was her mother, and few believe that it was her uncle (long before her birth). Either way, historians are convinced that she must’ve had past issues with slaves that molded her into the monster she became.

Delphine was wealthy. She had married two husbands, both passed away, and inherited the money from her deceased parents and spouses. Sources state that Delphine had five children — one with her first husband and four with her second. Once she remarried with her third husband, Louis LaLaurie, she grew significantly richer and higher-class. This was when she purchased the infamous mansion and many slaves to man the home.

It is said that this third marriage drove Delphine to madness.

LaLaurie was well-known around the town and to anyone you asked, she was kind. Or so they believed.

Some say that rumors arose in 1828, claiming that she was cruel to her slaves. People stated that she fed them a minimal amount of food, providing only the bare necessities. However, to this, she was found not guilty and the rumors silenced.

Big mistake.

The Torture Within

Delphine LaLaurie was a sadist. She had tortured her slaves callously, ensuring their ultimate suffering for years and years. She owned many, all of which were ruthlessly abused. Delphine LaLaurie showed no mercy.

What exactly had she done to her slaves? What conditions had the slaves undergone before being discovered by local witnesses?

Uncorroborated reports state that there were …

At least seven slaves, beaten and bloodied to the point that they could hardly move.

Slaves with their eyes gouged out, skin peeled, and mouths sewn shut.

A slave woman with broken bones that were rearranged to resemble those of a crab.

A slave woman with intestines wrapped around her body.

Dead slaves with holes drilled into their skulls, spoons near to stir their brains.

Mutilated corpses in the attic, unrecognizable.

Slaves detained with iron collars around their necks, hung from multiple places.

It is said that there was a young slave girl around the age of 12, tasked with brushing LaLaurie’s hair. While doing so, she accidentally pulled a bit too hard. This angered the woman, driving her to sequentially chase the girl off her roof with a whip. The little girl fell to her death, never to be heard of again.

Some say that LaLaurie attempted to hide the body. However, she was unsuccessful and the town shunned her upon discovering this fact. Still, she was not charged for such allegations.

Another report states that a man jumped out of the third-story window to avoid punishment. The extent of LaLaurie’s torture was so intense that this slave had chosen to die through suicide, rather than undergo abuse.

Their Final Plea

Image Credits: DenisesDreams

In 1834, there was a fire in the mansion’s kitchen. This was known as the slaves’ final cry for help after being subjected to years of torture. And finally, people listened. The fire was put out and LaLaurie fled the scene as witnesses entered the building, completely awed by the gruesome sight.

The Aftermath

After the fire in the mansion, Delphine was never heard from again. Some say that she fled to Paris, where she created a new identity and resumed her torturous acts with new slaves. Her death was presumed to be sometime between 1842 to 1849.

Today, the LaLaurie Mansion still exists in New Orleans as a haunted hotspot. There have been reports of poltergeists and ghosts living in the building. It is said that the spirits of the numerous slaves still remain in the mansion, haunting those who enter.

At one point, it was turned into an apartment complex and inhabited by people. Then a man living in the apartment was murdered, which only raised suspicions of ghosts. People have reported the sound of footsteps circling rooms and other signs that indicate hauntings. It is now a landmark that can be visited, for those who dare.