Wednesday, August 28, 2013



 Is this a true story?  That’s the question I’m asked most often when people begin to read L’immortalité: Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen.

 My account is fictionalized, in order to bring readers the very best of the history and the legend of Delphine Lalaurie and her “haunted” mansion in New Orleans.  Philippe Bertand, my protagonist in the story, is a fictional character.  Most of the rest of the “cast” are carefully researched presentations of real people who actually knew Madame Delphine.

 When, on April 10, 1834, an old slave named Arnante set fire to the Lalaurie Mansion (and to herself), the horrors of 1140 Royal Street were revealed to the public for the very first time.  Here is a contemporary newspaper account from the New Orleans Bee published the day after the fire.

Several slaves more or less horribly mutilated, were seen suspended from the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other. Language is powerless and inadequate to give a proper recollection of the horror which a scene like this must have inspired. We shall not attempt it, but leave it rather to the reader's imagination to picture what it was!

    The slaves were the property of the demon in the shape of a woman whom we mentioned in the beginning of this article. They had been confined by her for several months in the situation from which they had thus been rescued and had merely been kept in existence to prolong their sufferings and to make them taste all that the most refined cruelty could inflict. But why dwell upon the particulars! We feel confident that the community share with us our indignation, and that vengeance will fall, heavily full upon the guilty culprit. Without being superstitious, we cannot but regard the manner in which these atrocities have been brought to light as an especial interposition of heaven.

 I decided to use the last line of this account in my book (page 106).  Whether the exposure of Delphine Lalaurie’s treatment of her slaves was divine intervention, or not, the event quickly became a key moment in the history of American horror.

 The story of Delphine Lalaurie has been popular since George Washington Cable published it in the 19th Century.  Lalaurie appears on Barbara Hambly’s excellent novel Fever Season, and most recently, Carolyn Morrow Long produced Madame Lalaurie:  Mistress of the Haunted House, an outstanding non-fiction text that carefully details the history.  Another short history was published in 2011 by Victoria Cosner Lave and Lorelei Shannon.  You will find a brief synopsis of the story in the (low budget) film, The St. Francisville Experiment.  On television, the Lalaurie Mansion has been featured on Haunted History and beginning in October, Kathy Bates will portray Delphine Lalaurie on the FX series, American Horror Story.

 So, yes, Virginia, there really was a Delphine Lalaurie and she still haunts the old mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Read her legend in L’immortalité on Kindle or in trade paperback.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Delphine Lalaurie legend now available on as e-book

“L’immortalité:  Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen” by T.R. Heinan brings NOLA horror story characters to Kindle format


TUCSON, Ariz. – In “L’immortalité:  Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen” (ISBN 978-1-63003-914-1), author T.R. Heinan shows the lengths people will go in the quest for immortality.  The 5 star reviewed historical fiction novel combines horror, history and humor to tell the story of New Orleans “most haunted” house.

Set in the 1830’s Creole community of New Orleans, “L’immortalite” takes readers on a journey with Philippe Bertrand, a reclusive lay sacristan who lacks compassion for others after the death of his wife and mother.  He is led to a mansion owned by Madame Delphine Lalaurie, and there, he meets a young slave named Elise.  The events that follow result in the slave’s escape, the discovery of macabre medical experiments in the mansion’s attic, and the intervention of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

The paperback format of this book has been recommended by top-rated haunted tours in New Orleans and was shown at the 2013 HWA-Bram Stoker Awards weekend.  The growing popularity of book’s title characters bring thousands of New Orleans visitors each year to view “haunted” Lalaurie Mansion and the tomb of Marie Laveau.

Heinan hope readers will gain a deeper understanding of New Orleans history while enjoying the ride he takes them on through Philippe’s meditative quest for eternal life. The book is illustrated by Hollywood artist John Weston.

“L’immortalite:  Madame Lalaurie and the Voodoo Queen” is now available in Kindle format and is free to Kindle Prime users Amazon.

About the Author:

T. R. Heinan is a Minnesota native, born and raised in Duluth.  He attended Marquette University and worked as a journalist before beginning a career in investment banking specializing in the motion picture and airline industries. After retiring, Heinan has spent his time writing and serving orphaned and homeless children at a Mexican orphanage he helped to build.