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Unraveling the mystery of Madame Lalaurie

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 10.16.37 PMShe’s New Orleans’ most infamous homeowner: Madame Delphine Lalaurie has haunted the city for nearly 200 years.

The thrice-married wealthy grande dame lost her lofty social standing abruptly and permanently on the evening of April 10, 1834, when rescuers responding to a fire at her Royal Street mansion discovered bound slaves who showed evidence longtime torture and abuse. LaLaurie’s house was sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens, and its owner fled to France.

Was Madame Lalaurie a sadistic abuser? Mentally ill? Or merely the victim of an unfair and sensationalist press? The fourth speaker of The 1850 House Author’s Lecture Series will shed light on the subject. Carolyn Morrow Long, author of Madame Lalaurie, Mistress of the Haunted House, uses carefully documented eyewitness testimony, archival documents, and family letters, Long to recount Lalaurie’s life from legal troubles before the fire and scandal through her exile to France and death in Paris in 1849.

The lecture takes place Wednesday, June 19, a 6 PM, in the courtyard of the 1850 House Museum Store on Jackson Square. A $15 donation and reservation are requested; call 504-524-9118.


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