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Madame Delphine: The Stories They Don't Teach Us

How many of you loved American Horror Story: Coven? I sure did. I got my life seeing Angela Bassett play the real Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau, and wreak havoc. You know who else was a real person? Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Madame Delphine LaLaurie was a New Orleans socialite known for hosting extravagant parties and being part of the town gossip. She married three times and had five children, whom she was said to attend to lovingly. She became famous for the torture and murder of slaves in her attic. This included men, women, and children. When LaLaurie had guests her slaves were publicly treated with respect and kindness. She even freed two slaves. Rumors were spread because screams could sometimes be heard coming from the home. A local lawyer was dispatched to her Royal Street mansion to remind LaLaurie of the laws for the upkeep of slaves. During this visit the lawyer found no evidence of wrongdoing or mistreatment of slaves by LaLaurie. He was thoughtfully kept from the attic. Because of the visit of the lawyer, one of LaLaurie's nosy neighbors saw one of her slaves, a 12 year old girl, fall to her death from the roof of the Royal Street mansion while trying to avoid punishment from a whip-wielding LaLaurie. The body was buried on the mansion grounds. Later writers elaborated on the case saying that Lia, the 12 year old slave girl, had been brushing Delphine's hair when she hit a slight tangle. This caused LaLaurie to grab a whip and chase the child. This incident led to an investigation of the LaLauries. They were found guilty of illegal cruelty and forced to forfeit nine slaves. These nine slaves were bought back by the LaLauries through relative and returned to the Royal Street residence. LaLaurie kept her cook chained to the kitchen stove, and beat her daughters when they attempted to feed the slaves. In 1834 a fire was started by her slave cook, age 70. The el was found still chained to the stove while LaLaurie had her other work to save her furniture. The cook had started the fire as a suicide attempt out of fear of punishment. Imagine that. You'd rather burn to death than endure the horrors of what this woman might do to you. You would rather burn. To. Death. When the firefighters arrived they were kept from the attic. Several bystanders forced their way into the attic to make sure everyone was safe, and found several slaves horrifically mutilated. They were "suspended by the neck with their limbs stretched and torn from one extremity to the other", one witness accounted. The slaves were emaciated, showed signs of being flayed with a whip, were bound in restrictive postures, and wore spiked iron collars which kept their heads in static positions. EYES GOUGED OUT. FECAL MATTER STUFFED INTO THEIR MOUTHS THEN LIPS SEWN SHUT. SKIN FLAYED. Another woman's BONES WERE BROKEN then reset so she resembled a CRAB. READ THAT AGAIN. Another woman was wrapped in her own intestine. Other slaves had holes in their heads with spoons nearby that were used to stir their brains. Yes. This is real. This. Is. Slavery. They'd been imprisoned there for months. One of those who entered the premises was Judge Jean-Francois Canonge. Canonge said that when he questioned LaLaurie's husband about the slaves, he was told an insolent manner that "some people had better stay at home rather than come to others' houses to dictate laws and meddle with other people's business." A mob destroyed the house which was later restored. The slaves were taken from the home and then PUT ON DISPLAY. You read that right. They were treated like animals in a circus. Imagine experiencing this in a time where no one anywhere has access to therapists. You. Sitting there reading this. I demand that you take this in. 4,000 white Americans came to view the slaves. Bodies were also found buried in the yard. It is rumored that LaLaurie fled to Paris. There was never any confirmation of her arrival. It was widely believed that LaLaurie made it to Paris, but she came back to New Orleans under a new name and continued to torture slaves. The body of Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie has never been found. A few years ago I visited the home which still stands in NoLa. I've never felt such energy. Witnesses said there were over 100 slaves that were tortured within those walls. Think about how America treated the Central Park 5. Innocent boys. Children. The suffering they faced. And they were innocent. This RICH WHITE WOMAN ESCAPED. TO PARIS. PARIS. ...PAAAARRRIIIIIISSSS. Like. Think about that. I pray the souls of my ancestors have found peace in paradise after knowing such pain. #BlackLivesMatter #MadameLaLaurie #AmericanHorrorStory