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
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.
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
Lalaurie And Her Haunted
" 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 .
LALAURIE WATERCOLOR, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO
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
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
LALAURIE WATERCOLOR II, BY RICARDO PUSTANIO
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
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
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
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
"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
"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."
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
Of Mid City Parade a one of a kind unique
all aluminum foiled Parade by visiting
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
BY THE TOUCH OF AN ARTISAN SOUL
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 Art Gallery Of The
Strange And Unexplained!
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.
TO READ HERE<
LALAURIE HOUSE, NEW ORLEANS AND THE
SOUTHS MOST HAUNTED HOUSE WALLPAPER
BY FROM HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS
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stories, Ghost photos and info about
Delphine Lalaurie and the Lalaurie House
can be found by visiting here.