Lore Report: “Addition” (Episode 150)

Even the places we call home can evolve over time, transformed by the people who live there. And few cities in America demonstrate that as perfectly as New Orleans. But be careful, because history has made one truth abundantly clear: the more you dig, the more tragic things become.

The Crescent City is a quintessentially gothic American city, and thus forms a fitting subject for the latest episode of the Lore podcast, which takes as its theme the dark depths hidden beneath alluring surfaces. Host Aaron Mahnke presents a wealth of macabre material, including the stories of Louis Congo (an ex-slave who rose to the position of public executioner) and of the old Orleans Theater and Ballroom (the site of various hauntings). The bulk of the episode, though, is devoted to the chilling tale of Madame Marie LaLaurie, a New Orleans socialite now notorious for her imprisonment and sadistic torture of her black slaves in the early 19th Century. LaLaurie no doubt is a familiar figure to fans of American Horror Story (the New-Orleans-set “Coven” season during which Kathy Bates portrayed LaLaurie is not referenced here, although one suspects that Mahnke had it in mind when discussing fictional embellishments of LaLaurie’s acts for horrific effect). The documented, real-life cruelties perpetrated by LaLaurie are nothing less than unsettling, but Mahnke also turns the screw further here by recounting reports of the woman’s posthumous assaults inside her restored mansion.

“Addition” is an apt title choice: it is a longer episode than recent offerings, and returns to furnish further bits of lore about a place Mahnke has visited previously on the podcast. Layered with dark detail, this 150th episode is itself a welcomed addition to the Lore archives.


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