Delphine LaLaurie was a beautiful and wealthy young socialite whose elaborate parties attracted only the most wealthy and elite of the early 1800s New Orleans social scene. Madame and her third husband, Dr. Louis LaLaurie, lived in lavish splendor at 1140 Royal Street, a mansion which Madame would be forced to flee a mere three years later when a charnel house was discovered within.
Madame's neighbors had already lodged a complaint with officials in 1833, after witnessing Madame LaLaurie savagely whipping a young slave girl in her backyard for a minor infraction. The slave girl, apparently in a hurry to escape Madame's punishment, either fell or leapt to her death from a balcony to the courtyard below and was unceremoniously buried beneath a tree soon afterwards.
In April of 1834, a fire broke out in the LaLaurie kitchen. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found two slaves chained to the kitchen stove. Apparently, the slaves themselves had set the fire deliberately in a last ditch attempt to call attention to their plight. Upon further inspection, the hideously tortured and mutilated bodies of seven slaves were found in the LaLaurie slave quarters. It seemed that Madame LaLaurie herself had committed the atrocities, taking a sick pleasure in personally torturing and killing her slaves.
Madame LaLaurie fled the city before she could be arrested. Some say she made her way to Paris, retreating into isolated grandeur. She was never caught, and never seen again in New Orleans, although the LaLaurie mansion is rumored to be haunted, both by the tormented slaves and by Madame herself. (wiki)