Madame Delphine LaLaurie is a once wealthy socialite known throughout New Orleans, later discovered to be a nefarious serial killer who tortured and murdered her black slaves. She is a character in American Horror Story portrayed by Kathy Bates.
Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie (née McCarty) was a high-society Creole socialite in 1830s New Orleans. Her love of hosting elegant parties is matched only by her taste for the gruesome torture of her black slaves.
Driven by her insecurities and catalyzed by her husband's indiscretions with young women, including their own slaves, Delphine creates a nightmarish beauty balm derived from fresh human pancreases that she removed from her slaves. New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau takes her vengeance on Madame Delphine for the torture inflicted on her lover, one of Delphine's slave victims, Bastien, that the socialite had tortured and dressed up to look like the Minotaur, one of her favorite characters from Greek mythology. She presents Madame Delphine with a false love potion, whose actual effects are much more sinister. LaLaurie's fate is revealed as one worse than death, and one that has not yet ended.
Delphine wakes up from the effects of the 'love potion' to find her husband and daughters hanging from the balcony of her home. Marie Laveau has Delphine buried alive in an unmarked grave in the front yard, but not before revealing that the 'love potion' has actually granted Delphine the curse of immortality.
Personality and Appearance
She has dark brown hair, green eyes, and in the 1800s she dressed in elegant dresses but in the present wears the maid's outfit. She was also quite overweight but hypocritically often rebuked other women for their weight. Madame Delphine LaLaurie was a woman of propriety in Cajun high society in 1830's Louisiana. However, it is quickly revealed that she has a much darker, heinous side. She has an obsession with her appearance, smearing herself in her slaves' blood in a superstitious attempt to maintain her youth. She has a sharp tongue and a sadistic streak. LaLaurie keeps many of her slaves in her attic where they inevitably become victims of grotesque experimentation and torture, solely for the fascination of Madame LaLaurie.
Losing her family and being buried for centuries has drained LaLaurie of her will to live, as is made apparent when she asks Fiona Goode to use her powers to end her torture and let her die. She has shown herself to be stubborn on several occasions. She has also shown herself to have a deep fascination with the human anatomy, and how it functions at the expense of her slaves. LaLaurie considers this to be a hobby for her.
LaLaurie is arrogant and narcissistic, obsessing over her appearance, not unlike Fiona and believing herself to be a genius and a visionary while belittling others around her, even her own daughters. Delphine is a control freak who becomes furious if her will is ever defied but is also completely cowardly, running, hiding or begging for mercy if she was ever threatened with death or pain. Despite her abusive treatment of them, LaLaurie loved her daughters immensely which was probably her only redeeming trait. Deeply sadistic, LaLaurie regularly tortured black slaves because she saw them as worthless and no better than animals. She was extremely racist even by the standards of her time and her barbaric treatment of her black slaves violated the Code Noir which was itself intensely cruel. LaLaurie was not a complete monster, however. In addition to her love for her daughters, she felt remorse for some of her vicious crimes, such as murdering and exsanguinating the baby her husband had with a female slave and using the baby's blood as make-up, driving the deceased infant's mother to suicide in the process. Over time, she came to care deeply for Queenie and feel guilt for her crimes, as well as respect black people as humans. Her racist views returned when she was betrayed to Marie Laveau by Queenie.
She appeared to be a devout Christian and regarded the election of Barack Obama as American President to be a sign that God had forsaken the land, due to the colour of his skin rather than his policies. After the return of her racist views, she maintained a perverse kind of empathy for black people, saying that she pitied them for being fed the lie that they could be equal to whites.
LaLaurie was intelligent, having a knowledge of the human anatomy and an interest in science although she perverted this for evil means. Another sign of her intelligence is that she was a skilled cook, despite usually relying on her servants to prepare food for her in the time she originally lived. She also had a hearty appetite and developed a fondness for fast-food during her time in the modern age.
Years after her burial, Delphine is found and dug up by Fiona Goode, who wants to discover the secret of eternal life. Fiona mocks her, though the two women seem to bond at times. She wants to use Delphine as leverage against Marie Laveau, first keeping Delphine hidden away and tied up in her room, and later turning her into the new maid of the school.
Due to Delphine making too much (mental) noise, Nan angrily rushes up the stairs and discovers Delphine in Fiona's room. She unties her but is caught by Queenie. Delphine smashes Queenie's head with a candlestick holder and runs off. Later on, however, Delphine and Queenie begin to form a small bond as Fiona forces her to become Queenie's personal maid as she 'hates racists'. Queenie sacrifices herself when the Minotaur comes after Delphine, luring it out to give Delphine time to hide. Delphine is appreciative of this and thanks Queenie, who still shows a disliking to Delphine because of her racist behavior.
Queenie manages to reattach Delphine's severed head and hand, and carries her to Nan's funeral with a leash and collar around her neck. At the academy, she sees an African-American gardener who cut his hand and is reminded of the joys she felt from torturing her slaves in the 1800s. She holds him captive in Spalding's old room, using a pruning shear to cut off the gardener's toes and also disembowels him. Spalding appears before her, saying that he knows of a potion that will remove Marie's immortality and will allow Delphine to murder her, but he will only give it to her if she brings back an ancient doll baby that he desires. Spalding hands over the potion (which turns out to be nothing but Benadryl®). Delphine drugs Marie's drink and when she falls asleep on the bed, Delphine stabs her in the chest. Marie is unaffected and gives chase after Delphine, but she is knocked out by Spalding. Spalding says that he only wanted Marie out of his hair and suggests that Delphine should bury her. Instead, she tortures Marie and hacks her to pieces.
After this, Delphine gets a job as the tour guide of her old house to try and reinvent her image and is later confronted by Queenie who tries to get her to see sense and repent for her sins. Her attempt ultimately fails and she stabs Delphine to death, despite her immortality. This is straightforward explained: since Delphine had cut the Voodoo Queen into pieces scattered all over New Orleans, the latter was no longer able to guarantee annual services to Papa Legba. Since Queenie had pointed out to the Gatekeeper that Marie had broken their agreement, Pape Legba revoked the immortality granted on both of them.
Fate after death
Delphine is later seen in her very torture chamber, being locked away with her daughters. Papa Legba arrives and reveals that she and Marie Laveau are in Hell, where they are to spend eternity. Delphine watches in horror as Marie is forced to burn Borquita with a hot poker. It is possible that this was not the real Borquita but rather an illusion created by Papa Legba however it is equally possible that it was the real Borquita as innocent people can be consigned to Hell, such as Misty Day.
Several years later, Delphine is still begging for an exhausted Marie's mercy in Hell, asking her to stop torturing her children. She reminds of the time she killed a child but spared his mother from seeing it. Nan walks in and informs Marie that she is being released from Hell due to a deal Cordelia made with him: replacing Marie with Dinah Stevens. Later, this event was reversed by Mallory, who created a new timeline where Cordelia never needed to retrieve Marie.
- Immortality - This is more of a curse, rather than an ability, but due to her consuming a vial of Marie Laveau's tears that she gave Delphine, she suddenly shared Marie's immortal trait and had lived for more than a century. Upon Papa Legba revoking Marie's immortality, and therefore Delphine's as well, she was killed by Queenie.
Louis LaLaurie is Delphine LaLaurie's final husband and is stepfather to Marie Delphine "Borquita" Lopez and father to Marie Jeanne and Marie Pauline. He also has a bastard son with a black servant named Sally whom he would have named Pierre. Prior to living in New Orleans, Louis lived in Paris with Delphine and the girls but moved to New Orleans to take care of "business". He is fond of his wife, as he follows her orders and compliments her on her new minotaur, but does not desire her and has affairs with younger, more beautiful women, which is an open secret to Delphine and Marie Laveau even though he tries to hide it.
At one point, he has an affair with a kitchen slave named Sally, and she gives birth to a white boy. Delphine is aware that this is Louis' son and does not want the bastard to grow up and stake his claim to the LaLaurie fortune and kills him, which makes Sally kill herself. Because of his infidelity, Delphine tries many beauty treatments to look youthful (even by resorting to smearing blood on her face), and is tricked by Marie Laveau to drink a vial of her tears to become immortal by claiming that the vial is a love potion to stop Louis' infidelity. Louis is hanged along with his daughters and step-daughter. Delphine later claims that she didn't feel anything for Louis when she saw his corpse hung, and was planning to poison him to death.
Marie Louise Pauline LaLaurie is the youngest daughter of Delphine LaLaurie's three marriageable daughters. As a LaLaurie, she has a high status in New Orleans society and, as the youngest among her sisters, is naturally the most desired. However, her mother believes her to be not only ugly and plain-faced, but also without talents that men would like. She is not interested in any of the potential suitors her mother entertains and makes them uncomfortable with a suggestive comment that her talent is in the boudoir. She is attracted to the black servant Bastien, and seduces him during the party, but gets caught by her father. Her indiscretion with the house slave Bastien seals the manservant's cruel fate as the Minotaur. In her revenge for this, Marie Laveau hangs Pauline alongside her father and sisters in the estate's courtyard. She is reanimated by Laveau almost two centuries later, to attack Miss Robichaux's Academy.
At one point in life, she jokingly plots with her older half-sister to stage their mother's death, stating that her mother will always scare away a good suitor for Borquita. Having overheard this, Delphine punishes Borquita by locking her in a cage in the attic torture chamber.
Marie Louise Jeanne LaLaurie is Louis LaLaurie's eldest daughter and second daughter to Delphine LaLaurie. Like her sisters, she is defined as plain-faced by her mother but makes up for it by being more talented than her younger sister. However, she does not appear to be assisting her mother in killing slaves, unlike her older half-sister.
When Borquita laments about their mother scaring away a potential suitor who actually thought she was lovely, she and Pauline comfort her, complaining about their mother. When Borquita suggests they kill their mother, Jeanne asks how they should do it, when their mother walks in on them. For that, she is later seen tied to two posts similar to how Bastien was tied up. She tries to explain that they were just joking, but Delphine tells them that her love for their plain faces is why she can still breathe. She is hung later on by the angry mob of black slaves, and is re-animated by Marie Laveau to attack the academy.
- Jeanne is the first character portrayed by Ashlynn Ross. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast.
Marie Borja (Marie-Borgia) Delphine "Borquita" Lopez is the oldest daughter of Delphine LaLaurie and Delphine's previous husband. Her mother defines her as plain-faced but comments that Borquita is a huge help with "the domestics" (referring to their slaves who did housework). She also acts as her mother's handmaid, taking care of her mother's blood supply for her night rituals. Her mother claims that she would not need to be harvesting blood and pancreas from slaves if it were not for her stepfather's infidelity, and if she wants to lose her inheritance to other women's children, she has to help her mother keep him.
During a Halloween ball held by her mother, Borquita took an immediate liking to the son of Governor Andre B. Roman Jacques Roman, who returned the gesture. Delphine challenges his masculinity by showing him her chamber of horrors. Delphine dares him to guess what he is grabbing at in two covered platters. He is horrified when he finds human eyeballs and intestines and he flees, followed by Delphine's mocking laughter. Borquita laments to her half-sisters that she will never find a husband because of their mother, the other two agreeing that they are treated just as bad as the slaves. Borquita implies that she intends to kill their mother, and the two go along. Delphine enters the room, telling them to go back downstairs to the party. Unknown to them, Delphine had heard their plot and has her husband bring Bastien and two strong slaves to her. Later that night, the slaves take the girls and imprison them in the torture chamber, with a slave breaking Borquita's leg so she can fit in the small cage. Delphine tells them that she will release them in a year, and will punish Borquita for thinking about murdering her mother by stuffing her mouth with feces on Christmas.
Borquita, her sisters and her father are later killed by Marie Laveau via hanging. She is re-animated by Marie, along with her half-sisters, to lay siege onto the Academy. She attacks Queenie, but Delphine stabs her daughter in the heart.
Her appearance, however, visibly affects her immortal mother. She is last seen in her mother's hell (though she is likely not the real Borquita), trapped in a cage similar to the one Delphine had her locked in next to Delphine's cage, where Delphine will have to witness Borquita tortured at the hands of Marie for all eternity.
- To her tortured slaves: "Bonsoir, my pets. Did y'all miss me?"
- To one of her slaves: "Hush up or I'll rip your lips open and stuff more shit in there."
- To Louis LaLaurie: "My great literacy began with Greek mythology. I used to sit on daddy's lap and he would read me those stories. Full of those vengeful gods and miraculous creatures. But the Minotaur was always my favorite. Half man, half bull. And now I have one of my very own."
- To Queenie: "Out my way, slave!."
- To Queenie: "No, you stay away from me, you stay away from me, you hear me?! YOU STAY AWAAAAAAAY!"
- To Marie Laveau: "Salut."
- To Marie Laveau: "I am Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, and yo ain't nothing!"
- To Borquita: "And you, ringleader of the feeble-minded, you've earned a special present. On Christmas morning I'm gonna stuff your conniving mouth full of shit!"
- To Marie Laveau: "What you gonna do? Kill me? I can't die."
- To Queenie: "You made me weep, but not as you would have it for my supposed sins. I wept for the state of this world, a world of lies, a world that makes promises it cannot keep. To tell a colored man that he can be equal to a white man, there's a real cruelty. I'm not going anywhere."
- She is the first character portrayed by Kathy Bates. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast. Bates's portrayal earned her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
- Delphine has been absent in three episodes overall throughout the season: "The Axeman Cometh", "The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks", and "The Seven Wonders". This makes her the second main character to have the most absences in episodes, along with Spalding; the first being Myrtle Snow.
- Delphine is based on the actual historical figure who existed in New Orleans during the 17-1800s. She was also a socialite who secretly (with her husband) tortured and murdered her black slaves.
- Delphine kept a ledger of kills. In total, she killed 62 of her slaves.
- Delphine's obsession with using the blood of her slaves to stay young may have been inspired by Countess Elizabeth Báthory, an infamous serial killer alleged to have bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth.
- She is the fourth immortal character to be introduced in accordance of each season. The first and second were Shachath and The Devil. The third was her giver, Marie Laveau. The fifth was Bastien. The sixth was Papa Legba. The "seventh" were a handful of vampires. The eighth was The Addiction Demon. The ninth was Scáthach.
- She is one of three characters to be revoked Immortality; the others being Marie Laveau and Bastien.
- See also: Delphine LaLaurie/Media