On the evening of April 10, 1834, a suicidal act of arson by a desperate slave exposed the horrific crimes taking place in a mansion belonging to one of New Orleans leading families. The fire at 1140 Rue Royale has continued to enflame legends, ghost stories and historical debate ever since.
L'Immortalitè, Delphine Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen
, while fictional, is based on people, places and events torn from the chronicles of New Orleans history. Delphine Lalaurie, the insane empress of Creole high society, Doctor Louis Lalaurie, her mad scientist spouse, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and her snake, Zombie are all a part of New Orleans history. Other characters in the book, such as Judge Jean Canonge, Delphine Lalaurie's nephew Auguste Delassus, former mayor Augustine de Macarty, Bastien the slave and neighbor Marthe de Montreuil were actual people who witnessed the shocking events at the Lalaurie Mansion. Bishop de Neckere and Bishop Blanc both presided over St. Louis Cathedral during this period. Certainty as to the actual names of other characters has been lost to time, but the weight of evidence supports the existence of Grand-Mère Arnante, the cook, and Leah, the child slave. Even our fictional bookworm and protagonist, Philippe Bertrand, would be pleased to discover that his apartment was located, in part, on the property that later became the home of Nobel Laureate, William Faulkner.
Visit New Orleans, Louisiana to visit the locations where this story takes place. St. Louis Cathedral is larger than it was in 1833 and so is the Lalaurie Mansion. St. Louis Cemetery #1, on the other hand gave up some of its space to urban renewal. The ghosts of Marie Laveau, Madame Lalaurie and other characters named in L'Immortalite
still haunt NOLA.Where in New Orleans? Take a walk down Pirates Alley, tour the Cabildo and take advantage of one of the great walking tours available in the Crescent City. The culturally complex mix of freedom and slavery, voodoo and Catholicism, Creole and American, death and a hope for an afterlife each shaped the unique history of New Orleans. L'Immortalitè strives to reflect these realities as the quests for immortality by Delphine and Louis Lalaurie, Philippe Bertrand and a runaway slave intersect at a corner in front of 1140 Royal Street.
Read L'Immortalite, Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen, then take a tour of New Orleans, Louisiana. You'll be glad you did.