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A Peek Inside New Orleans’ Haunted LaLaurie Mansion

If you’re an avid Hammer-and-Heels reader, you know I have a small obsession with American Horror Story: Coven.  Aside from the awesome fact that much of the show is filmed just blocks from my house and the super cool fact that my neighbor worked on the set design… the show is also based on some true New Orleans tales!  The stories are twisted for TV, but nonetheless, the plot line of Madame Delphine Macarty Lalaurie stems straight from the history books.

The infamous French Quarter socialite lived at the corner of Royal and Governor Nichols streets in the early 1800’s.  Legend (and historical sources) have it, the mistress of the house was one seriously sick puppy.  In 1834, a fire swept through the mansion and neighbors rushed to the scene.  Inside, they made a horrific discovery.  Seven slaves were being held captive in rooms above the kitchen.  They’d been chained, starved and tortured.  Newspaper reports describe holes in one slave’s head, maggots in wounds, along with bloody welts from whips and other atrocities.

In recent years, the Lalaurie house has served many roles and had numerous owners.  Most notably, actor and former owner Nicholas Cage.  Sure makes you think twice about ol’ Nick, doesn’t it!?  According to a recent article on, Michael Whalen purchased the multi-million dollar haunt in 2010 and has gone through great lengths to renovate the mansion, while paying tribute to its gory past.  Some of the details are subtle, from the skull linens to the spooky purple drapes, but the mix of dark and light, with a spattering of religious elements, work together to bring a little taste of that haunted history back to life!

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