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Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans' Most Famous Murderess Revealed

3.12  ·  Rating Details ·  248 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
On April 10, 1834 Firefighters smashed through a padlocked attic door in the burning home of Creole society couple Delphine and Louis Lalaurie. The horrible discovery of chained and mutilated slaves spawned a legend that has endured for over 150 years. But what really happened in the Lalaurie home? Who was "Mad Madame Lalaurie," and what motivated her to commit such ghastl ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 18th 2011 by History Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 622)
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Nov 29, 2011 Aimée rated it it was ok
Really disappointed. Choppy, shoddy writing, almost like they Frankensteined it together. Good facts, but presented in that run-of-the-mill history textbook way. I wish it wasn't so bland. I also hate that they introduce a topic, then add a parenthetical "For more information on this topic, read chapter 7" after a sentence or two. It disrupted the flow and made me feel like I was reading a boring "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

I also found that the "what if it really happened this way?" chapte
While I did not find the writing dry, the book could have easily been more than what it was. The authors do a somewhat good job at putting forward a possible real story of the famed murderess. The problem is that some of their proof is just as fleeting as the proof for the more sordid stories.

Still, if you are interested in the story, it might be worth reading.
Aug 18, 2011 Bunny rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-11
I'm impressed. I didn't think it was possible to make a book about a famed Creole murderess horribly dry. These authors succeeded.

Not a bad book overall, but they spend 4% of the book discussing the folk lore, 95% of the book explaining why it's wrong, and how Lalaurie wasn't really the bad guy, and 1% of the time congratulating themselves for their amazing research.

Enh. Good if you want an extremely brief explanation for who she was.
Dec 22, 2011 Alice rated it liked it
What I sincerely appreciated about Love’s and Shannon’s expose was the concerted effort to enlighten the reader on both the facts and fiction of the Lalaurie legend. What I was – at times – disappointed in was the execution.

Although I live only a few hours from New Olreans and have traveled there on numerous occassions, I must claim ignorance of the Lalaurie legend. I suppose that is simply another example to prove the adage that people are sometimes most ignorant of their own culture.

Mad Madame
Apr 12, 2016 Brooke rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
This book was not ready to be published. The authors have taken an interesting subject and left it mired in poor grammar, half formed ideas and sentences that read like notes. Madame Lalaurie should be fascinating and instead she is boring. Dull. Dull. Dull. There seems to be little known about the woman or anything really to do with her so the book is all conjecture and hearsay. Far too much of the opening chapters is spent detailing the business of her first two husbands, a hasty timeline of w ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Fishface rated it liked it
This was quite a short read, and frustratingly incomplete in some ways -- the authors are wont to say "we have proved" when they haven't proved the point at all, just made an educated guess. But with that said, this is a fascinating character from a period of history I know almost nothing about. Did she or didn't she? Just how bad were the crimes committed? And how can we know anything much about a era that allowed the rich to treat their slaves almost any way they wanted without consequences? T ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-orleans
I am extremely intrigued by the story of the LaLaurie Family and Mansion in the French Quarter, New Orleans. So when this book came out I was extremely excited. Unfortunately it didn't quite hit the mark for me.

While it is a great historical account of the known facts, the storytelling and structure isn't very strong and I found it a struggle to get through.

That said, if you are interested in the history it is a treasure trove of historical accounts and the background of the story, which I hav
Jul 18, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: new-orleans
This slim volume (144 pages) claims to reveal the complete truth about Delphine McCarty Lalaurie, one of the most infamous women in New Orleans' colorful history. Never mind that this seems unlikely in such a slim volume ... the fact is that the authors reach a number of conclusions that may or may not be accurate, and never bother to tell us how they got there.

Delphine Lalaurie was notorious in New Orleans for how badly her slaves were treated -- such that when seven of them are rescued from th
Elaine Lamkin
May 31, 2012 Elaine Lamkin rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
I bought this book along with MADAME LALAURIE, MISTRESS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE and of the two, this book was by far the most disappointing. It didn't seem as though the authors did much, if any, in-depth research; just regurgitating the few facts already known. For REAL research, try MADAME LALAURIE by Carolyn Morrow Long (available at Amazon). MAD MADAME LALAURIE makes for interesting secondary reading about this fascinating woman.
Mar 04, 2012 Stacey rated it liked it
Good to read if you are going to visit New Orleans. Gives a little history about the Madame LaLaurie's life as well as history of the city. It tells what stories about the Madame and NOLA are true and what stories are embellished.
Sean Chick
Oct 30, 2015 Sean Chick rated it really liked it
Very much a straight history book that hews to the facts and strays from the myth. Hence the low ratings on Goodreads. Would have liked some footnotes.
Mar 27, 2016 Steve rated it it was ok
I bought this book in the New Orleans airport on a recent trip there and a few days after a Ghosts & Spirits Walking Tour in the French Quarter. A short book and worth a read, but it needs to be read with a notebook and pencil close at hand. It seemed disjointed with twists and turns that, often, left me confused about what the authors were trying to say. If not for he Chapter 10, Myths v Facts, I would have had a hard time determining just what the authors' beliefs were. If I read it again, ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Pamela rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at a local Indie store, and was extremely pleased that I did. This story takes place in 1834 New Orleans, and tells the tale of Delphine and Louis Lalaurie a prominent NO couple. When firefighters broke through a locked door in the couple's home they allegedly found chained and mutilated slaves in the room. From that time on, rumors and allegations became a legend in which the Lalauries were charged with murder and torturing of their slaves. The couple fled New Orleans in t ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Natalie rated it really liked it
This is not a sensational book even though the subject matter is horrific. It's a pretty dry account of records, facts and rumor of New Orleans' most famous serial killer. It's kind of a struggle to get through this all because it's not a narrative account. There's actually a chapter that reads as if it was all true because that's really the only reason anyone is reading the book. Factual, interesting but not entertaining.
May 18, 2016 Bryce rated it liked it
The authors are determined to get to the truth behind Madame Lalaurie's sordid and terrifying legend... but do so in the dryest way possible, and seem to be looking down on those of us that enjoy a good hyperbolic yarn or scary ghost story.

It's interesting to offer new theories when it comes to history, but I don't see the point here. Lalaurie tortured and killed slaves... is "but how much" the right question to be asking?
Ben Linzy
Feb 01, 2016 Ben Linzy rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
One of the most enduring legends of old New Orleans is that of 'Mad Madame ' Delphine Lalaurie. In this short book, the authors seek to separate myth and reality. Given the lack of primary sources I think they did a good job. The books organization isn't the best, but the inclusion of related ghost stories is welcome. the main problem with the book is its attempt to straddle the line between popular history and serious academic work.
Sep 30, 2015 Natalie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Written like a thesis paper. And not a good one.

I was very interested when I saw this book. I loved "American Horror Story:Coven" and didn't realize the characters were based on real people. I was hoping for some insight and clarity. Instead, I got a confusing amalgamation of myth, author speculation, and dry historical family connections.
Hybrid Creature (devours books instead of brains)
Jun 06, 2016 Hybrid Creature (devours books instead of brains) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs or New Orleans lovers
Good, if you're looking for a basic working knowledge of the legend of Madam Lalaurie. Though it could be half the size as the authors spend a third of the time reviewing things they had already discussed. The entire middle-to-end sections are redundant.
Sep 17, 2015 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man. No wonder this book was on sale. What a snooze fest. She successfully took a fascinating story in a fascinating city in a fascinating time and made it completely pedestrian and boring. NEXT
Jan 28, 2015 Jamie rated it it was ok
I was so excited to read this book and wound up extremely disappointed. I feel like most of the book was spend talking about the so called "false" versions of the story.
Jan 20, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
The book provided a good insight into Creole New Orleans. It also offered many options to the sad story of the slaves of the Lalauries. Know one will know all of the truth.
Apr 07, 2015 Genaphur rated it liked it
I have always loved the story behind the Lalaurie house in New Orleans. I first learned about it an a walking ghost tour of the French Quarter back in 1999. I knew the horrific stories had to be mostly made up but it did make for one very twisted story.

This book was very well researched bring in every documented piece of information. I love knowing the truth behind things of this nature but in some ways it was kind of sad that so very much other the story was untrue. Not that I wanted such horr
Sep 20, 2015 Mary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy reading this at all. I felt like it kept going over the same things over and over again in each chapter. Very disappointing.
David Finch
Nov 08, 2014 David Finch rated it liked it
Good historical material, but strung together with weak narrative. Interesting case.
Sep 08, 2015 Megan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldnt-finish
Save your money. Snoozefest.
Nancy Lorenzen
Jan 20, 2013 Nancy Lorenzen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of New Orleans ghost legends
Shelves: 2013
I liked what the authors were doing, which was deconstructing the myths surrounding the Lalaurie house and its infamous owners to see if the truth was better or worse than what everyone believes from all the ghost tours. However, the book would have benefited a great deal from the services of a good editor. I felt like I was reading a first draft instead of a finished manuscript. That was a shame, because this should have been a much better book than it was.
Nov 17, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok
I saw one of the authors at the Louisiana Book Festival so I picked up this book. I had never heard of Madame Lalaurie before so I wasn't familiar with the legend. While the topic was potentially interesting, the writing was not the best. The chapters seemed liked they could have been arranged better for those unfamiliar with all the lore and the writing was choppy. A lot of primary documents were included which while interesting, made it even more disjointed.
Laura Bedrossian
Sep 21, 2015 Laura Bedrossian rated it really liked it
Straight and to the point. Great job of going through fact and fiction.
Sep 26, 2012 Adrienne rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of true crime books and read this book cause I was intrigued by the story, however this book was choppy and I found myself skipping pieces of the story. But I do like how the authors seek to show the facts and dispel some myths surrounding the story. Overall it was a decent read.
May 31, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Fascinating story and well researched. The authors did a wonderful job of separating the facts from the wild myths that have been passed down for over 175 years regarding the gruesome events that took place by Dr. and Mrs. Lalaurie at their home on Royal Street in New Orleans.
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