The Lalaurie Mansion has been updated again and so I spent an hour rereading some of the old stories that nola.com has been gracious to offer-or one could opine that since running old articles doesn’t require paying reporters to find new stories, it is a calculated move by the old TP. Still, this story comes back to life every All Hallows’ Eve.
‘Every time I went to Lalaurie, I would say my prayers and put on the holy water. It was my perfume.’
Here is one of the original stories from the New Orleans Bee about the mob that destroyed the furnishings after the fire. The writing is delightfully dense and difficult for a modern reader but so fascinating still. I love this:
The whole of yesterday and the preceding day, the police jail was crowded by persons pressing forward to witness the unfortunate wretches who had escaped cruelties that would compare with those of a Domitian a Nero or a Caligula.
This story from The Daily Picayune in the 1890s shows how tabloid journalism and lurid details had become the fashion since the Bee story’s restraint:
Her manners were sweet, gracious and captivating, her voice was said to be as soft as a low strain of music; even in New Orleans she was noted for her charitable deeds, and yet – and yet – there were wild rumors that madame inflicted the most cruel torture upon her slaves, that she whipped and flogged them unmercifully; that in that splendid house behind those attic windows there were human beings chained to the floor, confined in darkness and actually starving to death And the curious door in the wall ? – well there were rumors enough about it, but they were very vague and floated about the rue Royale like a shadowy mist at evening.