I was not going to write another word about true haunted house stories, but then my good friend Kay who lives in NOLA gave me a heads up that one of the two mansions that Nicolas Cage has lost to foreclosure in New Orleans was the notorious LaLaurie House in the French Quarter. I did a little research and wrote up this fascinating story and sent it on to the New York Post's Page Six and today the info is cited in Page Six's lead item:"I Warned Nic Cage to cool it".
I had known for years the stomach-turning details of the terrible events in the LaLaurie House back in the 1800's and I thought it was interesting that the media--which wrote about Cage's financial and legal disasters last week -- did not mention the evil karma that has dogged the owners of this "most haunted" house since the horribly mutilated victims were discovered in 1834.
Nic Cage himself was well aware of the story and has mentioned it often, including on the Letterman show. He has said that no one in his family has ever had the nerve to spend the night in the house but that he planned to. He also has rejected the requests of a number of "ghost hunters" to check out the house because he feels it would be "exploiting" the ghosts.
Anyway--here's my write up on the story. Tomorrow I'll turn to happier subjects--namely my sneaky shortcuts developed over the years to make Thanksgiving chores as whole lot easier. Nicolas Cage’s Foreclosed Mansion is New Orleans’ Most Haunted House
On Friday, Nov. 13th it was announced that actor Nicolas Cage had lost his two historically significant New Orleans mansions to foreclosure.
In April 2007 Cage paid $3,450,000 for the notorious LaLaurie house at 1140 Royal Street in the French Quarter. It was built in 1832 for Dr. Louis LaLaurie and his sadistic wife Delphine who , it turned out, was horribly torturing slaves in gruesome ways and keeping their broken and dismembered bodies chained and caged in the attic. The outbreak of fire in 1834 led to the discovery of her torture chamber. The family fled and were never charged. Since then, the ghost stories about the building have multiplied, making it a highly popular tourist stop. The mansion has served as a high school, a music conservatory, a bar, a furniture store, and empty tenement and an apartment building. Almost every inhabitant moved out within months or suffered tragedy and death. At one point it was “The Haunted Saloon”. It’s not clear if Cage ever lived in the building.
Last week the spooky French Empire mansion was acquired by the Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Bank for $2.3 million.
The bank also acquired Cage’s mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans at 2523 Prytania Street . Cage had purchased it for $3,450,000 in June of 2005. The bank got it for 2.2 million. It was previously owned by novelist Anne Rice and originally was a Catholic Chapel.
Presumably the Garden District chapel, if haunted, houses benevolent ghosts, while the infamous LaLaurie house in the French Quarter would more likely produce hellish demons—like the ones described by pre-Cage inhabitants.
Hopefully no evil spirits haunt the 1830’s French Quarter mansion of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at 521 Governor Nicholls street, less than two blocks away.
After 40 years as a journalist, I turned 60 and decided to return to my first love--painting. I’ve exhibited watercolors and photographs in Massachusetts and have a slide show of paintings below. My photo book “The Secret Life of Greek Cats” can be purchased by clicking on the cover below.
I collect way too many things, but my great passion is antique photographs, from the earliest—daguerreotypes (circa 1840) up to 1900 (cabinet cards, tintypes.) I approach each one as a mystery to solve, and in unlocking their secrets have met some fascinating historic figures. For some of the stories, check the list of “The Story Behind the Photograph”.
My husband Nick and I live in Grafton, MA and recently celebrated our 41st anniversary. We have 3 children, now amazing adults. And on Aug. 26, 2011, we greeted our first grandchild, Amalía-- world’s cutest baby. But this blog isn’t about grandparenting (although photos of the grandkid sneak in). As it says up top, it’s about travel, art, photography and life after sixty. And crone power.