Truth is Stranger than Fiction: How Ghost Tours Trivialize Slavery, Part I

Truth is Stranger than Fiction: How Ghost Tours Trivialize Slavery, Part I

Many times New Orleans “ghost tours” take a serious matter, such as slavery, and embellish a particular moment with graphic and scripted dialogue for spectacle, while going little into the actual histories of those oppressed peoples who largely built and established much of the unique culture of New Orleans. Some haunted history tours go as far as placing these hard, factual histories alongside stories of ghosts, vampires and the paranormal, which seems to categorize slavery with the supernatural.

Among the plethora of haunted history tours in the Vieux Carre, the mansion of Delphine LaLaurie remains one of the most visited sites. The building was made infamous in 1834 when responders to a fire inside the home witnessed the torture of enslaved people. The paper at the time, the New Orleans Bee, reported that after breaking down the locked doors to the slave quarters, responders found “seven slaves, more or less horribly mutilated… suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.”

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