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DELPHINE LALAURIE HAUNTED PORTRAIT

THE ACTUAL DELPHINE LALAURIE HAUNTED PAINTING I, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

Story by Jerry Leblanc Artwork by Ricardo Pustanio

DOES THE FACE OF DELPHINE LALAURIE HAUNT YOU?

Delphine was a reputedly beautiful woman with long, black hair, and she and her husband were renowned for their extravagant parties. They had many slaves and seemed a respectable pair, but little did townspeople know what Madame Lalaurie did to make her slaves submissive. She had already been in court over charges of brutality, and on one occasion after complaints of abuse, several slaves had been removed from the home, but few people would speak out against this couple, so they were never arrested. Not even after a young girl jumped to her death from the second floor to escape her harsh mistress. Then one night in 1834, a fire brought a volunteer fire brigade to the home and the Lalauries' gruesome secrets were discovered.

Around New Orleans since the late nineties stories about a haunted painting of Delphine Lalaurie have circulated throughout the city. No one was quite sure if it was an original from her time or anything specific except it existed. And it was very haunted! After al little bit of investigation into the stories of the actual haunted painting, the truth actually surfaced. Our own artist Ricardo Pustanio was actually the artist behind the alleged haunted portrait.

THE DELPHINE LALAURIE HAUNTED PAINTING, RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

The fasination with Lalaurie has lasted almost 180 years, and people are intrigued by her and the image her face portrays. Only one image of her has floated around for years on the internet.The existance of the one haunted painting has become sort of the Mona Lisa of haunted paintings.

LALAURIE AND HAUNTED HOUSE PAINTING, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

 

Pustanio was asked to do the work by a resident of the actual Lalaurie Haunted House. The felt they wanted to have her portrait in the apartment as a touch with the buildings past. Besides it would make a great conversation piece. Pustanio as others in the city had often heard the story but he did not realize that painting in question was one that he had done.

This commissioned painting of the infamous Madame Delphine Lalaurie was done in 1997 by Mardi Gras Parade artist Ricardo Pustanio. Nothing strange about it in it's creation or reasons for being painted." At the time I used what ever image of her I could fine to do the work from," said Pustanio. " I even went to the Musée Conti Historical Wax Museum and questioned them about her appearance they did in wax." " But never did I think the Haunted Painting was something that I had done." " After I painted the first I became facinated with her innocence." "So I did a few more, I guess I was trying to see who was this face so evil, who had done all she so rightfully acused of."

Lalaurie And Her Haunted House History

" THE HAUNTED HOUSE 1140 Royal Street New Orleans, Louisiana." Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lalaurie House still stands. In Americas' most haunted city, the tortured ghost hold many secrets within the walls of this great haunted mansion .

DELPHINE LALAURIE WATERCOLOR, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

Delphine LaLaurie and her third husband, Leonard LaLaurie, took up residence in the house at 1140 Royal Street sometime in the 1830's. The pair immediately became the darlings of the gay New Orleans social scene that at the time was experiencing the birth of ragtime, the slave dances and rituals of Congo Square, the reign of the Mighty Marie Laveau, and the advent of the bittersweet Creole Balls. Madame LaLaurie hosted fantastic events in her beautiful home that were talked about months afterward. She was described as sweet and endearing in her ways, and her husband was nothing if not highly respected within the community.

Like all well-established members of society, the LaLaurie's kept a brace of slaves to help run their Royal Street home. Early on, there was nothing unusual about Madame's relationship with her slaves, although they all seemed to hold her in nervous regard. But eventually, whispers began to spread through the lower Quarter of the Madame's double life and of her growing abuse of those indentured to working under her roof. The whispers grew louder and louder, among the Negroes and the Free People of Color and were passed ear to ear throughout the tight-knit domestic community of the Old Quarter. But New Orleans socialites turned a deaf ear to what they considered "nonsense" and “superstition”-- until the day Madame LaLaurie was seen chasing a young slave girl through the house and to her ultimate death on the cobblestone courtyard, three stories below.

The Lalaurie house, called The Haunted House, was avoided for decades by the local superstitious New Orleanians and remained vacant for forty years. To this day, this house is considered to be the most haunted in the city.

The death, deemed an accident, and Madame deemed perfectly within her right to exact discipline on her property, nonetheless set off a chain of events that would assure Madame LaLaurie an eternal place in infamy.

It is said that, angered at the needless and awful death of the young slave girl, one of the older kitchen women deliberately set fire to the house. The flames had nearly engulfed most of the lower stories of the house by the time the fire brigade arrived on the scene. The kitchen woman, it is said, ran out to the fire brigade and, hollering something about the "poor souls" in the attic, led those who followed to the top of the burning house.

There are actual accounts, with notarized signatures of at least three witnesses of high standing, of the gruesome and horrible sights found in the dark and smoky attic that day. Dead and half-dead slaves, men, women, and children, were found in various stages of torment and pain -- chained to the walls by shackles on their hands and feet, some lying prone, others forced to stand in crudely constructed wooden stocks, they had been subjected to unimaginable acts of morbid atrocity. Eyes gouged out; tongues hacked off and in some instances crudely re-attached; mouths and eyes sewn shut altogether; noses and ears sheared off; bones broken and reset in horrible, twisted manners; genitals mutilated -- these were just some of the horrible sights that met the eyes of the fire rescuers and witnessed by ordinary citizens. Most of the slaves thus confined were already dead from torment or smoke inhalation; the others would not last long beyond this day of liberation.

DELPHINE LALAURIE WATERCOLOR II, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

The City was in an uproar. There were cries of vengeance against the Bitch LaLaurie; they wanted her blood; they wanted her skin. And Madame knew it.

So, with the mob forming hot upon her heels, she escaped Royal Street and the French Quarter in her carriage, the horses dragging it madly away toward the swamps and Bayous south and east of the Quarter itself.

It is said Madame LaLaurie stopped and took refuge at the Pilot House (still standing) located on the shores of Bayou St. John, and that later she boarded a merchant schooner and escaped under cover of darkness. Where is still a matter of some debate. Though many hold that she escaped altogether to France (and a grave plaque found in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 only two years ago seems to support this theory), others insist she escaped to the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and lived in secret for a time at Claiborne Cottage in what is now Old Covington. Still other accounts have her escaping to Lacombe, Louisiana, also on the North shore, where she is said to have reclaimed some of her wealth and station -- and more than a little of her old habits.

One individual tried to open what was to be “The Haunted Saloon,” but locals refused to patronize the place. Again, it sat vacant. Eventually, the house was renovated into the apartments it is today. Much of the house was in serious disrepair. When floorboards were replaced in the third floor slave quarters, the bodies of 75 people were found who had been buried alive. The remains were removed from the property.

175 years have past and her reputation and said haunting's is still a much talked about subject in hushed tones. And her house still stands in all it's haunted glory.

 

The Haunted Painting

To say this painting of Lalaurie is haunted is wrong, the actual painting is more like being haunted by unseen hands haunting it. The resident of the apartment use to invite friends over all the time. And would show off his prized work of art. Over time people actually believed it was an original to the house. For Pustanio had antiqued it for his client per their request.

He never had the intention of labeling it as haunted nor did he ever represent it as anything but his own work. Once he did the one he became intrigued with her appearence and did several more in a series. Some in oil some in acrylics and watercolor.

Is this also a Haunted Painting of Lalaurie?

MADAME DELPHINE LALAURIE PAINTING II BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

The resident began to hold seances for his friends and even tourist and paranormal investigators who always are trying to get a glimpse inside the haunted mansion. To their astonishment the painting would actually rock on the wall and even fall loose from the wall hitting the floor with a great thud.

In time the resident began to get very frightened because things began happening that just unnerved him. From echoing faint voices, the smell of smoke, things of his being moved are missing. He ended up moving out and giving the painting to another tenant. She in turn hung it in her apartment and immediately was spooked by strange sounds and occurrences that started happening that very day. She said she often heard footsteps in her apartment as if someone was pacing. It got even stranger when she began to hear the Painting whispering to her. She could not make out what it was saying. she even had Paranormal investigators come and document the occurrences which she said were to many to recount here. She spoke of smells, sounds and cold hands touching her. She began to believe that it was the spirits of those that Lalaurie tortured haunting her unhappy that the painting of the evil Lalaurie was present .

The painting actually scared her so much she sought out Pustanio out and gave the large painting back to him. She told Pustanio the eyes would follow her and she actually heard it sigh. She also claimed that the painted Lalaurie moved, and changed expression. Every morning, she claimed, the painting was crooked. She would straighten it, and the next time she looked at it, it would be crooked again.

Pustanio said nothing strange ever happened to him nor did he ever have anything occur when it was in his presence. I've never had anything like this Happen he told me while telling me this story. " I can't believe someone pays me for a painting gives it away then it's given back to me." Said Pustanio.

The painting of Delphine Lalaurie is now in a private collection and the new owners refuse to discuss its present whereabouts or of any paranormal things that happen in it presence. But who knows? Could it be the painting is only haunted if it returns to the Lalaurie House?

"I've done a lot of things in my life that people say are haunted," says Pustanio. " I personally don't think I am haunted." Nor what I do attracts ghost, or was intended to be haunted" "I just think out right some people connect with artist because we put strong emotions into our works." " And isn't a haunting basically supposed to be just that, strong emotions of the dead manifesting themselves."

"I have actually painted several LLalaurie paintings over the years, three of them as commissions and two of which I sold through local shops and galleries." Says Pustanio. "As far as the others known as being haunted, I have never heard anything or been contacted about them being as such as of yet."

MADAME DELPHINE LALAURIE IV PAINTING BY RICARDO PUSTANIO © 2006

About some of his other reported Haunted artwork, Pustanio says, "I design, Voodoo dolls, Voodoo spirit bottles and make them for local Voodooants." " I don't disbelieve they have captured spirits in the bottles or the materials they give me for inclusion in dolls." "They just have never given me the creeps or manifested themselves to me." " Maybe one day I too will have a paranormal experience with something I did then I'll change my mind."

"Are my Lalaurie paintings haunted?" Says Ricardo " I guess you will have to just get one of your own and find out for your self!"

Ricardo Pustanio is the artist Designer for the New Orleans Krewe Of Mid City Parade. Many of his wonderful pieces of artwork graces the many pages of our web site.You can learn more about the Krewe Of Mid City Parade a one of a kind unique all aluminum foiled Parade by visiting here. http://www.kreweofmidcity.com/ or www.kreweofmid-city.org

Ricardo Pustanio is currently working on a Portrait of New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau which he intends to sell as a limited addition print.

Delphine Lalaurie's Haunted Portrait By Artist Ricardo Pustanio. Official web site www.ricardopustanio.com

ALSO SEE:

HAUNTED BY THE TOUCH OF AN ARTISAN SOUL

STONE AND WOOD CLAY AND FABRIC DOES THE INANIMATE ACTUALLY HAVE A SOUL? OR IS IT INFUSED BY THE TOUCH OF THE UNEXPLAINED POWER OF THE ARTIST IMAGINATION?

> MORE TO READ HERE<

HAUNTED PAINTINGS

Real Haunted Paintings Art Gallery Of The Strange And Unexplained!

PART ONE

Some are haunted by Divinci's Mona Lisa, others by something in a painting that bothers them. Can contemporary Paintings be actually haunted? Are is it just imagined? Read the true story about The Hands Resist Him, better known by the nickname of the eBay Haunted Painting, by Bill Stoneham which became popular through the internet.

>MORE TO READ HERE<

 

DELPHINE LALAURIE HOUSE, NEW ORLEANS AND THE SOUTHS MOST HAUNTED HOUSE WALLPAPER BY FROM HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS

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More stories, Ghost photos and info about Delphine Lalaurie and the Lalaurie House can be found by visiting here.

http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/lalaurie/

 

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HauntedAmericaTours.com - Information on Ghost, Hauntings and Stories of the Unexplained!