Talk:Delphine LaLaurie

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Good articleDelphine LaLaurie has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
June 20, 2011Good article nomineeListed

Nice page[edit]

  • Entertaining story, but it would be nice to have some sources fo the information. Also, needs some more work on the grammar and some NPOV help. --Barista | a/k/a マイケル | T/C 07:52, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
    • Yes... I made the page just so Delphine LaLaurie would exist within Wikipedia.

I was hoping someone else with more knowledge would fix it up! --Donnald 21:29, 3 September 2005

Hi i just wanted to add her maiden name is spelled McCarthy but pronounced m'carthy. it is a very old common Irish surname , can you change it in the article , interesting page would love to know more about her. Sarah in Ireland .

lalaurie story[edit]

In the book "Haunted America" by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, the Lalaurie story had been recounted.

Lalaurie research[edit]

I'm doing some research on Delphine Lalaurie (nee Macarty), and I'll update the entry with what I find.

--Brecluse 01:21, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Laulaurie image[edit]

I'm wondering what the source of this image (Delphine Lalaurie image) is. It would be nice to actually verify that it is indeed Delphine.

--Brecluse 17:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Papa La-Bas[edit]

The story is also told in John Dickson Carrs book "Papa La-Bas" (1968)

Clean up...[edit]

Could someone please "clean this up", I don't quite see what Wikipedia wants, and my entire original article has been removed... :-(

Fiction v. Fact[edit]

It's nice that you found another mention of it in the Papa La-Bas book, but this book is a work of fiction and not a reliable source. I am still planning on cleaning this up, but I've just not had time to do more research or updates. Maybe later this summer. Brecluse 17:14, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I think the claim about dead bodies being found in the flooring of the Lalaurie House is fiction, but I don't have a source. Anyone know for sure? Tulane97 14:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes the story about the 75 dead bodies found is completely false as is the legend that she performed medical experiments on the slaves.Please see the external link I have posted.

Madame Lalaurie has a descendant called the Revered Synthia Darkness? (talk) 14:07, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Donnald: where did the image come from?[edit]

I first started to do research on Delphine Lalaurie 10+ years ago as an idea for a movie. Much of the story is shockingly true. In fact the true events that occurred are way beyond most people’s imagination! I also think that the bodies discovered years later is fiction. The horror found in the attic was so much worse than this page describes! As it turns out, Ted Bundy, Gacy , and Dahmer are just child’s play in comparison. Any movie made about Delphine Lalaurie would never be rated anything except X and would never even get off the ground! A word of warning to anyone researching Delphine Lalaurie, know that what you will find are things so disturbing you may wish to never know about, and you’ll never be able to forget.

I'd really like to verify the image is indeed Delphine (one of the things I'm sure Wikipedia wants), can you tell me where you got it? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Brecluse 17:16, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

This website [1] seems to verify it. --Kerowyn Leave a note 08:19, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually, it merely has the image as well, but it does not list a source that I can find, and without a source it isn't verifiable. I need the actual print material that this was taken from in order to verify it. Brecluse 00:03, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I have read all the nineteenth century sources on this case available in the British Library (which turns out to have a pretty comprehensive selection of New Orleansiana) and none contain reproductions of this image, or any other claimed to represent Lalaurie. I think its provenance has to be rated extremely doubtful until someone can come forward with an exact source or reference to an archive holding. Mikedash (talk) 10:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Madame LaLaurie[edit]

This article should be merged with the article on Madame LaLaurie.

Fact or Fiction?[edit]

Is the story factual? The external links were entirely worthless, and the only source mentioned is a book from 1921 (which, judging by the title, is by no means focused on this person and the story). If the story were true, surely police records etc. would support it, and there'd be a whole lot more about it. I've never read about this person in books dealing with serial killers (she certainly would qualify), and a Lousianan friend dismissed this entirely as "a ghost story." The article doesn't even attempt to address that the story is not verified and is generally regarded as fiction. -- 18:14, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

The Lalaurie story is difficult to verify, because even the newspaper articles of the time were sometimes embelished or even completely made up. I think we need a historian to tell us what is really known. Tulane97 18:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Delphine Lalaurie did exist, and she did live at this residence on Royal, but as Tulane97 indicates it's hard to verify what is true and what is exaggerated or false. It's something I'm interested in pursuing, but location/time makes it hard. Brecluse 16:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I have added an external link, pointing to a PDF of the edition where events are accounted for. Naturally, newspaper articles from that time period should be read with a critical eye. But at least it proves the incident is not a recent invention. The article in question is located at the top left of the PDF page. -- 16:40, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Well done, linking that newspaper article! A decapitation of most critical remarks above... Now let's find some info in police records re the event! And some info on the doctor, her husband.

Examining this story, for that is what it is, using sound logic pokes it full of holes through which its brains might be stirred, as the artcle says.

First of all: All of the victims died before they could be interviewed by anyone. This seems remarkably convenient that they were able to start a fire but were too weak to survive for long afterwards.

Second of all: The victims start a fire, in the place where they are in, to gain attention, even though they are restrained and are likely to be killed by this fire.

Third: The slaves were taken away once before, and yet said nothing of the basement torture chamber or murders etc.

Fourth: Slaves were expensive! And buying 12, much less 80 some, just to kill them, would be a monumentally large misallocation of funds. Also, if they were all kept chained, how did the mansion function without its servants? Ms LaLaurie must have found time to do the dishes, cook the meals, serve the food and take care of her children inbetween being a murderess.

Fifth: Slaves are not cattle. It is impercievable that 80 people could disappear slowly, and that no one would have a clue as to what was occuring, especially considering:

Sixth: The murder chamber was on the third floor, and was run supposedly by a lady. We must therefore understand that she disposed of the bodies by carrying them down three flights of stairs on her own. She would then have to wash off her bloody garments, all without being noticed. This is impossible, and yet its never indicated that she had an accomplice.

Seventh: Anyone imprisoned in the attic of a house in New Orleans for long would have likely died of heat exhaustion long before any tortures could be performed.

Eighth: Mme. LaLaurie was clearly not present to defend herself in any way, and it is absurd that the tale can continue without further input from her, or without word of her.

Ninth: After ten or so people are found brutally tortured in her home, she is allowed to wander off freely by the constablary.

Tenth: The article claims 75 corpses were found buried on the third floor. WHAT?

For these ten reasons I believe this article must be looked at as highly suspect, as must the legend in general. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't know anything about this, but your arguments are not very hard to turn down...

nr1: The fire was started by those servants not victims to torture. The actions performed in the chamber was evident just by looking at the victims, so it would not be necessary to ask them about more than: "Who did this?", and did not take much effort to say: "Madame", before ones last breath. Those circumstances seem to be very unclear by the way, I agree with you there; what happened to the servants not subjected to torture? According to the story, they were several servants in the house performing normal servant-duties for her guests. Had they perhaps been changed the very same day? Had she had some kind of collapse and suddenly decided to make all her staff victims? Had she been out on a visit when the fire started perhaps, and was it the custom to chaine the "free" part of the staff while she was out? and what happened to those servants not tortured, not found in the chamber, afterwards? That isn't clear. Perhaps they were interwieved? But a slave would hardly be officially counted as a witness gainst his/her owner.

nr2: Again, the fire was started by those servants not victims of torture- and even restrained, they were desperate, or convinced that the fire department would be there in time.

nr3:Who knows? No one cared what slaves said, and perhaps they realised that.

nr4:A sadist would find the money well spent. And, again; she only selected a few of the servants to be taken to the torture chamber, while the majority of course functioned as servants- though for some reason, also the rest was changed to their work places at the night of the fire. Perhaps she wanted them to die?

nr5:Well, sure slaves weren't cattle, but for upperclass- people, one servant looks just as the next one. They are not recongisable as individuals. Besides, who is to say it weren't noticed?

nr6:No one believes that the rest of the house did not know, even though they may not have taken part in the actual torture. Slaves were of course used to carry out her orders and to carry the bodies, perhaps in fear of being victims themselwes- they were not considered accomplices, as they by law was merely expected to do what they were told. Personally, I wonder why the husband was never suspected. It all sounds like medical experiments to me.

nr7:I'm sure many did. Most victims found there was found dead. And why would she wait long? She could have done so directly after they were brought there.

nr8:I really don't understand that. Wether she was innocent or guilty, she would of course deny everything. After she eskaped from town - and i find the version that she left for Paris more realistic than the silly story about her becoming a woodo queen(!) in the outskirts of New Orleans- she would hardly wish to return, whatever stories told about here there.

nr9: The chronology of events during the night it was discovered does'nt seem very clear; they are several versions. Personally, I believe the version saying that she fled imediatly after they broke in to her home is most realistic, but, by all means- the legal situations was not clear either; "people"? They were slaves after all, and not considered as full worthy people, otherwise the wouldn't have been slaves.

nr10:I agree with you there. but as it say that was found so late in time, it should not be hard to verify. I am skeptic myself; how could they hide the stench of the corpses? Perhaps some sort of embalming? Perhaps the number was exaggerated, and it was in fact only ten or so; they had ben put there shortly before the night of the fire, when they were still alive, and as the house was empty for many years afterwards, no one woild have noticed the smell...but, as I say, I'm skeptic about that myself.

Anyway, I did this just for argument sake, I know nothing about this. As far as I know, she could have ben innocent, but the slaves found in her house that night must have ben injured in remarcable ways, why else would even slave owners have been so upset? Surely, something must have happened. The whole thing seems to have been swept under the carpet in a legal sence, so it's hard to tell what is true or not; sensationalism was able to run rampant.-- (talk) 09:25, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Nicolas Cage[edit]

Actor Nicolas Cage has bought the LaLAurie Mansion. [2] —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:23, 28 April 2007 (UTC).

  • The whole Nicholas Cage part needs to be rewritten. It looks to be plagiarised from newspaper/magazine article >.> Rogutaan (talk) 05:17, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Why just Delphine?[edit]

Why is it just Delphine who is infamous for the treatment of the slaves etc in the house? Presumably her husband must have had a hand in it, or at least known about it?

I also think that would be interesting to know. Someone should insert exactly who did what, if there are any information about it.-- (talk) 14:39, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, the article says nothing on her husband Louis, even if he escaped when there was an angry mob. William Ortiz (talk) 05:47, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Auguste Macarty[edit]

I have found several sources on the net that suggests a Auguste Macarty was elected mayor in 1815. No 'Augustine' elected in 1812 is mentioned anywhere, as far as I can see. I have changed the article accordingly. 22:45, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Earlier history[edit]

There is very little about her life before the 1830s. There should be at least the names of her first husbands, and more about her early life in general, if this is known. Are they, for example, any indications, perhaps gossip, that she did something like this when she was young? Are there any information about her parents, and if they did something similar? This would be interesting from a psycological point of view.-- (talk) 14:44, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

The book I cited here does mention at least one of her earlier marriages, but again verifying the veracity of those mentions has proven to be difficult. I would be glad to dig up my old research and add it all though for further digging. Brecluse (talk) 20:11, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think that would be interesting and helpful, even if the verifying, as often with historical subjects, is difficult. I have found something myself which I added today regarding her first marriages. A source on the net say: She was born Marie Delphine, daughter of Louis Barthelemy Chevalier de Maccarthy. She was first married on June 11, 1800 to Don Ramon de Lopez y Angulo. When he died on March 26, 1804 in Havana, Cuba, she married Jean Blanque in 1808, who died in 1816. From there she married Dr. Lalaurie on June 12, 1825. I have inserted this as well as the source in the article. -- (talk) 13:02, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Delphine's birthplace[edit]

The article does not state where she was born. Was it New Orleans or Haiti? It just says that her parents were members of the New Orleans community, but then it adds (almost casually) that they were killed in a slave uprising. Which slave uprising? Where and when? Loiusiana did not have many slave revolts, however, Haiti, as we all know, did.--jeanne (talk) 08:18, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

When I read this article last, I seem to remember that it did say that they were killed in a slave revolt in Haiti. Perhaps it was reverted, or I've read it somewhere else. Anywhay, that's what i seem to remember, though I can't say were I've read it if it wasn't here. my guess: the information about her earliest life seem unclear, so maybe the family either emigrated from Haiti during the revolt, or simply visited Haiti at the time of the revolt there. Only a guess! -- (talk) 13:35, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, several sites on the net claim that her parents were killed in a slave revolt on Haiti. Here is one [[3]]. It seems as though her parents were visitng Haiti when this happened. Perhaps this had some effect in her view on slaves, who knows. -- (talk) 15:00, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Historical accuracy[edit]

As always, the key to understanding a story is to go back to the original sources. These confirm some of the basics of the "legend", notably the alleged death of a slave girl who jumped from the roof, the setting of a fire by one of the slaves, the discovery of a number of maltreated slaves by rescuers, and Madame Lalaurie's flight. None of the ridiculously ludicrous allegations listed in the 'rumours' section are substantiated, however, and few can be traced to sources published any earlier than the late 1990s. This is not entirely surprising, as no nineteenth century newspaper would have published such lurid and suggestive details, and the 'facts', if real, would have had to come either from court papers or eyewitness testimony, neither of which have ever been shown to exist. I have added a brief corrective, but really this entire article needs rewriting to state the history clearly and to reduce the 'rumours' section to what it should be, a brief one or two line mention at the foot of the article. I would be more than happy for the main contributors to the article as it stands to take this on. Over to you, gentlemen and -women. Mikedash (talk) 10:07, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I have asked a question about this subject below (Question:"Why was people so upset? Why was the second time different?")-- (talk) 09:06, 15 April 2009 (UTC)


In 1775, New Orleans was part of New France, and not of the United States. Accordingly, she was born French (as much as a baby born today in French Guyana. He wasn't born in mainland France, but in France nonetheless, thereby making him a French citizen, and not a "South American"). She was not "american" (in the sense of the word as is used in Wikipedia). Please correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually, New Orleans was a part of Spain in 1763-1800. But otherwise you are correct. -- (talk) 20:56, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Year of birth[edit]

In 1842, when she allegedgely died, she was sixty-something. So couldn't she be born anytime between 1772 and 1783? And be 60 or 69 year when she died?-- (talk) 20:56, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Why were people so upset? Why was the second time different?[edit]

If everything about torture, murder, etc was all fantasy, and nothing else happened but some slaves being locked up in a room, then why was poeple so upset that she had to leave town? This was a slave society after all, surely it was not uncommon for slaves to be badly treated. So why was people so upset that she was nearly lynched? Would that not mean that the slaves was wounded in unusaul ways? Even if it was uncommon to go so far as to chain slaves, it is hard to imagine that this nearly led to a lynching in a slave society. In short; why was people upset to this degree? There must have been a reason. -- (talk) 11:36, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, why have this drawn attention at all? Why is it famous? Why did people even bother, if nothing unusual hapened? -- (talk) 13:39, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

This is just sad. Slaves or not, laws in place to cease excessive torture and/or intentional murder of slaves have been in place on and off around the world since slavery has existed. Or did you NOT notice she had her slaves removed from her and she was fined a huge amount of money? This is indeed a place that enslaved people and did not consider them true humans, and yet she was bad enough for these people to think she was a psycho bitch. Learn some history. (talk) 07:39, 11 April 2009 (UTC) Harlequin

There is no reason to be upset. You do not understand my point. Yes, I read the article, I read about the first fines, that is exactly why I have asked my question. This is just what I am talking about. Why was she just not punished the same way as she was the last time? Just as you say, she was given a fine and had her slaves taken from her the first time. Why was she just not given another fine and had the slaves removed from her again? Why was this time considered any different? The law is one thing, public oppinion another. I the law decided, she would perhaps have been given another fine. But people was upset enough to chase her out of town. Why did they not do this the first time? The assumption must be, that this was different, much worse; that she had done something uncommonly cruel. And yet, the article states that nothing else was discovered but some slaves locked up in a room; mistreated, yes, but not mutilated and tortured. This would have lead to another pair of fines and removal of slaves. But instead, she was nearly lynched. Why? This is a reasonable question, and nothing for you to lynch me about. I am from Europe and of course I know that this is a sensitive question in USA. If you are so superior to me in your knowledge in history, then perhaps you can explain this to me. -- (talk) 10:35, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
To say that all of it is fantasy, will make it just as strange as saying that all wild theories about this case is true. The truth must surely be somewhere in the middle. Wether she really conducted medical experiments may well be untrue. But something terrible must have happened (more than what would otherwise be accepted in such a society) otherwise there would have been no reason what so ever for this case to have been known in history at all. Surely she was not the only slave owner to have broken the law (if this was truly the case) by looking her slaves up. It is important to learn how to conduct a discussion without being emotional. -- (talk) 17:13, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
This is indeed an interesting question, which needs to be answered if one feels it is necessary to discover the truth about this case. It is, truly, contradictive to logic in many ways; if none of the torture etc happened, why have this case became known in history? If it did happen, then why does the article claim nothing happen more than (If I remember correctly) the locking up of slaves in a room? No matter what the law say, would this have been considered terrible by the majority in this society? This is contradicitve, and needs to be clearified. However, cases of this sort is usually controversial, and it is easier to let your emotions ran away with you than to discuss fats. It is not uncommon, that many feel that it is more important to distance yourself from things like this and state your opinions, and to present facts which supports this opinion such as: "She was a massmurderer who tortured and conducted medical expermients" or "She was the target of lies and propaganda and was in fact innocent" rather than to present and discuss facs wathever they may say. That was speaking in general about such cases. I myself have no idea wath is true about this case in particular. The facts about this case may also simply be unknown, or hard to look upon neautrally. It is also important to realise, that some things, sadly, may be simply be too sensitive to discuss for some, which may be sad, but something important to consider. Perhaps these contradictive facts will be clearifyed some day. Regards--Aciram (talk) 11:00, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Answers aren't forthcoming not because of racial tensions but because the sole book about this event was written, as is stated in the article, by someone who appears to have written it to advance her tourism business. Newspaper sources from the 1800s show that the information in the book is incorrect. Until more information on the event is discovered, these questions won't be answered, unfortunately. This was a minor event two hundred years ago, which has become an urban legend because of a self-promoting book written in the last few years. If that book hadn't been written, this article probably wouldn't even exist - as it is, the article is to a large degree a disproof of the book. It's not that Americans don't want to look at this question because of racism or because of troubled history, it's that (1) it's a really minor event that was blown up into an imaginary grand guignol by a tourism promoter, and (2) since it was a minor event, there are no historical studies of it. Flopsy Mopsy and Cottonmouth (talk) 04:14, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Further debate re. historical accuracy[edit]

On 24 May editor Jlpavich added the following to the section "Historical accuracy":

"In Response to Above Claim: The New Orleans Bee did in fact report some of the crimes detailed above in it's edition on Friday April 11th 1834 (English edition). A record of this can be viewed online through the Jefferson Parish Library Archives."

I have removed this to the talk page because the Bee of 11 April does not support any of the more lurid claims discussed. The paper for that date does contain a deposition made by an eye-witness, Judge Canonge, who reports on his entry to the Lalaurie mansion and the discovery of the imprisoned slaves. Canonge states simply: “One of the ngresses had an iron collar, very large and heavy, and was chained with heavy irons by the feet… [another] old negress was found who had a deep wound on her head." This edition of the paper is freely available online at The relevant pdf is number 0038. Mikedash (talk) 15:12, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

However, 0038 is the April 12 Bee, not April 11. One of the April 11 pages, pdf 0034 (1834-04-0034) (far left column) ... ... speaks of the incident. "upon entering one of the (apartments?) the most appalling spectacle met their eyes. Seven (?) slaves more or less horribly mutilated were seen suspended by the neck with their limbs apparently stretched and (torn?) from one extremity to the other. Language is powerless and inadequate to give a proper conception of the horror which a scene like this must have inspired. We shall not attempt it, but rather leave it to the reader's imagination to picture what it was.

The slaves were the property of a demon, in the shape of a woman, whom we mentioned in the beginning of this article. They had been confined by her for several months in the situation from which they had thus providentially been rescued and had been merely kept in existence in order to prolong their sufferings, and to make them taste all that the most refined cruelty could inflict."

Now, this in no way means that this story is true. Quite to the contrary, it sounds like something newspaper writers of the time commonly composed in order to sell papers. However, it does indicate that, at the time of the fire, there were rumors of mutilation and extreme cruelty. —Preceding unsigned comment added by V3rn3n (talkcontribs) 04:21, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for catching my error. There is however, all the difference in the world between a newspaper article describing slaves' limbs as "torn" and the grand guignol horrors supposedly perpetrated in the Lalaurie mansion. The section describing these was removed in March by another editor (making the article as it stands somewhat hard to comprehend, I have to say), but it read:
According to rumor, over a dozen disfigured and maimed slaves were manacled to the walls or floor. Several had allegedly been the subject of gruesome medical experiments.
The exact details are unclear; owing to the horrific nature of the crime, many details were either swept under the rug or embellished. Perhaps the most gruesome of Mme. LaLaurie's killings was discovered by a young pickpocket by the name of Christopher Knowles. Knowles had broken into the LaLaurie residence with intention of stealing jewelry and other valuables. He broke in through the window and on the floor he discovered a bucket filled with mutilated human genitalia. Next to the bucket was a body. The body appeared to have been force fed the contents of the bucket until he eventually died from choking. LaLaurie was even reported to have tortured and killed local activist Adam Wescount, reportedly gouging out his eyes and letting crows devour his remains. One man looked as though he had been victim of some bizarre makeshift sex change. Another one had a hole in his head where a stick had been inserted to "stir his brains". A woman was trapped inside a small cage where her arms and legs had been badly broken and then reset at odd angles, making her appear as some sort of "human crab." Another woman had her arms and legs removed and patches of her flesh had been sliced off in a circular motion to make her appear as a giant caterpillar. Some had their mouths stuffed with animal excrements, sewn shut, and had then starved to death. Others had their hands sewn to different parts of their bodies. One woman had her entrails pulled out and was secured to the floor by her own intestines. A small boy of about twelve had the flesh on half of his face peeled back, revealing muscle, veins, and so forth. The wound had since been infested with disease and insects. Two men were found to have had their tongues sewed together. One girl wore a suit made from the skin of several skinned slaves, the limbs of which were hacked and use to decorate the grand gore chamber. Most disturbing of all was an elderly man whose penis was cut into 5 equal strands, each of which was attached to a hook and the body hoist to the ceiling, with two candles placed in his eye sockets to form a macabre chandelier. Most of the victims were found dead. Those who were still alive begged to be put out of their misery and died shortly after.
Also discovered in the attic were teacups and saucers, encrusted with a "red substance." There were several bottles lying about with what was assumed to be the same red substance, later identified as blood.
Actually some press accounts from early 1834 are marginally more explicit than the Bee, though their reliability is difficult to ascertain. For example, the Religious Intelligencer of 10 May 1834 reports the discovery of
Seven poor unfortunate slaves... some chained to the floor, others with chains around their necks fastened to the ceiling, and one poor man upwards of sixty years of age chained hand and foot and made fast to the floor in a kneeling position. His head bore the appearance of having been beaten until it was broken, and the worms were actually seen to be making a feast of his brains!! A woman had her back literally cooked (if the expression may be used), with the lash; the very bones might be seen projecting through her skin!
Cited by Courtney Barker, Misrecognized: Looking at Images of Black Suffering and Death, unpublished PhD dissertation, Duke University, 2008, p.32.
There seems little doubt that even abuse of this sort would have been more than enough to cause Lalaurie to be described as "a demon, in the shape of a woman" by the New Orleans press. The more extreme tortures conjured up later would not have been necessary for a supposedly genteel female to be labelled in such a way.
Now, it's certainly true that mutilations of the sort described in the excised Wikipedia passage would hardly have been described in detail by an 1830s newspaper, even if they had occurred. The fact remains, however, that there is not even a whisper of any of this in any account published before 1949, and most of the details first made print in the 1990s. Some, including the material relating to "Christopher Knowles" and the (anatomically impossible) description of a corpse suspended from the ceiling by its mutilated penis are unique to Wikipedia, so far as my own, quite broad, reading in the subject shows. In which case, one has to ask, where did the information come from? I would submit that the answer: "From the imaginations of some sick puppies gorged on the modern glut of torture porn movies" is more likely the solution than: "From an untapped, but wholly accurate, oral tradition passed down faithfully in New Orleans from generation to generation of friends or relatives of original eyewitnesses, none of whom ever breathed a word about it for more than 150 years after the event." Mikedash (talk) 09:54, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Obviously a lot of work's been done here since the last AfD and a lot of stuff has been sourced. I've been making some effort to source the remaining uncited material (such as about her late life and death) and been having no luck - most of the online information is citing this page (or an earlier versino of it) as its source. I'm therefore giving notice that I intend in the near future to delete the remaining unsourced material on the page to prevent further corruption of online sources and to provide a clean slate for building the article back up usingly only reliable, sourced information. If you're able to source anything on the page that isn't already, please prioritise it! - DustFormsWords (talk) 05:09, 26 November 2010 (UTC)


With some regret, I'm going to have to remove the portrait of Ms LaLaurie from the article, as it's tolerably clear from this site that it's still in copyright, and as it was painted within the last 20 years and can't therefore be claim to be an accurate representation of her, I'm not sure how it can be claimed to be fair use. - DustFormsWords (talk) 03:53, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

The Weekly World News...[edit]

... is not a reliable source. But it is oftimes a hilarious one. - DustFormsWords (talk) 00:13, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Allegations of cruelty to slaves[edit]

I'm putting many of the stories of LaLaurie's cruelty back into the article (the death of the young girl, etc). Originally they appeared here unsourced, and were removed as unverifiable. I've now traced them to Harriet Martineau, writing only four years after the Royal Street fire and recounting stories that were current in New Orleans at that time. I'm still not sure how reliable they are, but I'm being careful to say that they're Martineau's account as I reinstate them. Whether or not they're true, they originate from a contemporary source which is generally reliable in other areas, and there's no other contemporary source which directly contradicts them, so it seems to me they should be represented in the article. - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:25, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


I've added a consensus banner to the top of the page reflecting what I understand to be our consensus on portrait images of Delphine, and of the reliability of the major ghost-story-centric sources. The intention is to help new editors to not have to wade through the same morass we already have in discrediting these sources. Feel free to discuss here if anyone thinks that I've inaccurately portrayed editor consensus and I'll take it down. - 03:01, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Delphine LaLaurie/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
Review by banned user

Reviewer: 56tyvfg88yju (talk) 14:24, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

* Lead.

"until April 10, 1834, where rescuers" where --> when.
You might mention the house is still standing and its connection to Nicholas Cage.
Otherwise, Fine.

* First section: Early life

An en dash is used between years rather than a hyphen. "1815-1820" --> 1815–1820.
If it is known how Ramon died, it can be added here, "Ramon never arrived in Spain, instead meeting his death [by reason here] in Havana en route to Madrid."
Otherwise, Fine.

* Second section: The LaLaurie slaves

"The" is not used in section titles as far as I recall. "LaLaurie slaves" is fine or "Slaves in LaLaurie's house"
"one of LaLaurie's neighbours saw a young negro girl fall to her death" --> "neighbors"
"The New Orleans Bee reported that by April 12 up to 4,000 people" --> New Orleans Bee (italics)

* Third section: Late life and death

"Late" --> "Later" ? in section title.
Otherwise, Fine.

* Fourth section: LaLaurie in folklore


* Fifth section: The LaLaurie house

Again, "The" in section title.
Otherwise, Fine.
  • Images
When you take the article to FAC, you'll find many reviewers have great expertise on images. At the moment, I would prefer to see the first image moved into the first section and to the left margin at the head of the second paragraph rather than positioned under the Infobox - or deleted completely as there is another image of the house from the same angle in the last section. As the postcard is not of the period and the color has dulled I think it can be removed without damaging the article. Not sure if the article needs two so very similar images. Perhaps it could be replaced with a general view of New Orleans circa 1800 or another appropriate image. There is a fine image of the Cathedral circa 1838 in the St. Louis Cathedral article that could be placed at the left margin at "On June 11, 1800, Delphine Macarty married Don Ramon de Lopez y Angullo". This image would be an appropriate addition. She may have even attended the cathedral on a regular basis. Another option would be a map of the period pinpointing the exact location of the house. There are several period maps at Wikicommons. Consider alternating the images left-right-left-right. This is not required so I leave it to you. The article won't fail because of image placement.
  • Awaiting your response but I will need to review the references before the pass. Good article and hope you will consider a Peer Review and then submission to FAC! 56tyvfg88yju (talk) 23:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


Thank you for the helpful review. My responses are below. Although I have challenged several of your suggestions I am open to being convinced, as the best article is invariably a collaborative one. I look forward to your further commentary. - DustFormsWords (talk) 04:15, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Lead - Proposed edit (where/when) has been made. I'm not inclined to add the house to the lead simply because it's only in the article by way of background, and isn't a fact that's key to understanding LaLaurie's life. I remain open to being persuaded, though. - DustFormsWords (talk) 07:56, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • First section: early life - I take your point about hyphens but on consideration I have decided that "1815 to 1820" is even better, as this is a prose section and not a summary. I have changed it accordingly. Such sources as I have managed to find do not reveal how Don Ramon died (although one can speculate that given his age and the form of his travel, disease or illness seems more likely than accident). - DustFormsWords (talk) 08:00, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Second section: The LaLaurie Slaves
  • WP:HEAD doesn't suggest there's any problem with starting a section title with "the". (You may be confusing it with the prohibition of referencing the article subject - for examples, "Her slaves" would be objectionable as a heading.) In the absence of a policy statement, the "The" formulation seems to me to be preferable, as the section discusses the notable slaves, not all the slaves her family held generally.
  • Re: spelling, as far as I'm aware the rest of the article is in Australian English (being mostly written by an Australian, ie me) and should be kept that way per WP:RETAIN. An argument could be made that as the events occurred in Louisiana there are strong national ties to America (although LaLaurie was a French-speaking Creole) so if you're prepared to assure me that this is the only localisation change that would be necessary to convert I'll make the edits.
  • I have italicised New Orleans Bee per your sugestion. - DustFormsWords (talk) 08:11, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Third section: late life and death - "Late" is correct, as it agrees with "early" in the first section. To use "later" here the first section would have to be called "Earlier life". See Marie-Rosalie Cadron-Jetté for another example of this format in a Good Article. - DustFormsWords (talk) 08:13, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Fifth section: the LaLaurie house - "The" is correct, (a) per my earlier argument, and (b) per it being a proper noun. The name of the house is "The LaLaurie House", not "LaLaurie House". See also The Hague, The Lodge (Australia). White House provides a contrary view in the article title but then if you scroll down to the section headings you'll see many (appropriately) start with "the".- DustFormsWords (talk) 08:16, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Images - I very much appreciate your advice about images and plan to act on it. However, I would prefer not to substantially rearrange the images at this stage as there is every chance of more suitable images emerging between now and any potential FAC, which would necessitate the arrangement being reviewed in any case. I have looked at the Cathedral image you suggested but I am not convinced it is more than passingly relevant to this article. A view of Royal Street or the French Quarter from the relevant period would be more appropriate. I am also hopeful of turning up either a contemporary portrait of LaLaurie, or a modern artist's rendition that can be appropriated under fair use or commons licensing. Your idea for a period map is a great one but will require some research to ensure I am using an appropriate map so I would again prefer to make this a long term plan rather than try and rush it for GAR. - DustFormsWords (talk) 08:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


  • Is it possible to expand the lead ever so slightly with material from the "House" section? In this way, the entire article would be summarized.
  • If the LaLaurie house is correctly known as "The LaLaurie House" then this construction should be used rather than "The LaLaurie house".
  • Malleus Fatuorum has sidestepped this issue by renaming the section "The LaLaurie Mansion", which deals with your concern and agrees with the sources. - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Done (in that I've left it the way it was). - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I have little experience with the 'legality' of images used at Wikipedia. I'll request an image review.
 Done "They all seem fine, either the copyright has expired, or they are freedom of panorama, I would prefer they were tagged as {{PD-EU}} where appropriate so that they can be moved to commons which requires images to be free in the US and their country of origin, and thus allows them to be enjoyed by other projects Fasach Nua (talk) 12:28, 29 January 2011 (UTC)"
  • Only image captions that are complete sentences should end with a period. None of the captions here are complete sentences so none should end with a period.
  • MOS: Article titles, headings, and sections states "Do not use a, an, or the as the first word ... unless by convention it is an inseparable part of a name" and then states "All of the guidance in Article titles immediately above applies to section headings as well". "The LaLaurie slaves" then is incorrect per MOS. "LaLaurie slaves" would accord with the MOS.

56tyvfg88yju (talk) 12:11, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

  • This policy seems to be valid; however, applying it here would have the consequence of creating an incorrect section header - the section does not deal with "LaLaurie slaves" but rather some' LaLaurie slaves. Do you have a suggestion as to how to resolve this dilemma - possibly by using a completely different section header? - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:40, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Never mind; the section really deals with the 1834 fire, so I've retitled it accordingly and thereby dodged the issue. - DustFormsWords (talk) 01:47, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Very good. If you're satisfied, I'll pass the article. Let me know that you feel the work is done. 56tyvfg88yju (talk) 06:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm happy that the article now meets the GA criteria, so if you are too I'd suggest a pass is in order. However, your continued comments and suggestions for improving the article don't necessarily have to end at GA - feel free to continue pointing out areas for improvement. I intend to come back and work on the images once I've got the article I'm currently working on ready to nominate for GA. - DustFormsWords (talk) 07:06, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Thank you! the article is well written and, most importantly, appears to leave no question unanswered. Very thorough and very good work!

What is a good article? A good article is—

Well-written: (a) the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct; and (b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.

Meets the criteria. Well and correctly written.

Factually accurate and verifiable: (a) it provides references to all sources of information in the section(s) dedicated to the attribution of these sources according to the guide to layout; (b) it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines;[2] and (c) it contains no original research.

Extensively and well cited.

Broad in its coverage: (a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic; and (b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).

Excellent. Thorough. No question unanswered.

Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without bias. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. Illustrated, if possible, by images: (a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content; and (b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.

Well illustrated with both historical and contemporary material.

The article meets the criteria and is passed to GA. 56tyvfg88yju (talk) 14:23, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Note: The above GA review was done by a banned user in violation of ban and will need to be reviewed again. The new review may go below. –MuZemike 03:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Delphine LaLaurie/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Christine (talk) 21:27, 22 June 2011 (UTC) Hi, I will be reviewing this article. My sympathies for the difficulties it's gone through in previous assessments.

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

Very impressive article about a subject that's not that well known. Well sourced, with very few problems, which I'll discuss in the Comments section below.

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    Very minor issues, easily addressed. See below. For the most part, good prose.
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    The "See also" (currently, "a" is capitalized, and it shouldn't be) section is in the wrong place; it should be below the article content. Other than that, I like how the "References" section is laid out. I've never seen it this way before, but it makes sense. Again, there are minor issues I'll address below.
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    Excellent citing.
    C. No original research:
    Great job.
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
    I especially commend the editors' decision to not include the Cable and Smith sources.
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    I'm assuming good faith here, since so much care was taken in assuring that the images of LaLaurie herself were fair use. It really is unfortunate that there are no images of her that can be used here, but that's the way it is.
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Let me get to my comments, and I'll come back to this.Christine (talk) 23:41, 22 June 2011 (UTC)


Lead The lead doesn't currently summarize the article. It also isn't long enough.

Early life

  • Her father was Barthelmy Louis Macarty, the son of Barthelmy Macarty, the elder Barthelmy having brought the family to New Orleans from Ireland in about 1730. A little confusing. You could say "Her father was Barthelmy Louis Macarty, whose father Barthelmy Macarty brought the family to New Orleans from Ireland in about 1730."
  • In 1804, Delphine and Don Ramon undertook a trip to Spain. This is an example of the archaic language throughout this article. Say instead, "...Delphine and Don Ramon traveled to Spain." I think that it's adequate for GA, but I suggest if you want to bring it to FAC, you should have someone copyedit it. Remember, simple language is best in an encyclopedic article.
  • In any case, during the voyage, Delphine gave birth to a daughter, named Marie Borgia Delphine Lopez y Angulla de la Candelaria, nicknamed "Borquita". Delphine and her daughter thereafter returned to New Orleans. More archaic language. "In any case" as a phrase isn't encyclopedic, and neither is the word "thereafter". I recommend that you connect this paragraph with the previous one. Actually, one of the weaknesses of this entire section is that the paragraphs are too short. You can easily combine many of them.
  • This section confuses me. Its prose is definitely of a different style than the rest of the article. I like the prose in the rest of the article, but the prose here needs work.
  • I like how you use the less reliable sources, especially in the discussion about the LaLaurie myth. I have a suggestion, and it has to do with the "LaLaurie in popular fiction" section. Sections with just one item or paragraph in them, while there's no WP policy against it, is one of my pet peeves. I recommend that you rename the previous section "LaLaurie myth" and fold in the content about the Valentino book there.

The LaLaurie Mansion

  • It's against the MOS to include "the" in a section title. [4]
  • "Storey" is a British spelling; "story" is the American. I would think that since this is an article about an American, you should use the American spelling. I didn't notice any other British spellings. (I know, picky picky.) ;)
  • I wonder if you could combine the paragraph about Nicholas Cage in the previous paragraph. I like the last paragraph; it's a good conclusion to the article.
  • Sources: Like I said above, I like the structure of this section. I can understand why you structured it this way; it fits the scholarship of the topic. Refs 13, 15, 27, 31 are dead links. For the New Orleans Bee articles, you have "author unknown"; I'm not sure that's accurate. For citations that have no authors, most formats place the title first and don't mention that it has no author. I did like how the source refers to the newspaper; it's neat, simple, and is consistent with the format. Ref 24 has no page number(s).

Nice job. Address my concerns, and I'll happily pass it. Christine (talk) 23:41, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

I'll address these comments within 48 hours; the main writer hasn't edited in months. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 02:32, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Everything's addressed to the best of my ability. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 02:58, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
And I further copyedited this article and made some other changes that you had missed. (That's my practice for articles that I review.) I'll go and pass it now. If ever you decide to take this article further, I recommend getting another copyedit before taking it to FAC. Christine (talk) 23:29, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Louisiana Vs. Louisiana, New Spain[edit]

Guessing from the fact that LaLaurie was born in 1775 and Louisiana was administered by the Spanish from 1762 to 1802 ¿shouldn't the article use contemporary names such as Nueva Orleans and Luisiana for her place of birth? Sincerely, -- (talk) 23:22, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

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