New Orleans history in AHS: Coven

Gwendolyn Ducre

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American Horror Story: Coven is back with its third season and is using a New Orleans’ Voodoo horrific vibe to make a comeback.

The show has already surpassed 3 million viewers on the first episode.  Though this FX show is a scripted sitcom, the characters portrayed are far from make believe.

AHS has seen two different plots and settings before heading to a New Orleans coven.

Season one featured a suburban murder house, while season two enters viewers into an asylum.

New Orleans native Chelsea Triche, a junior toxicology major, said she didn’t know the characters were based on real life people.

“I did not know they were actual women that lived there. The show brings to light a lot of history and culture. I bet a lot of natives to the city could learn something from the show,” Triche said.

Other Louisiana natives were familiar with the legends that graced the land once upon a time.

Chad Harrell, a sophomore mass communications major, said he was aware of some of the stories.

“I knew the season would involve real New Orleans legends and that’s what I like about the theme. I really like how the show’s creators are taking something that already exists and is expanding on those legends,” Harrell said.

Madame Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau, played by Academy Award winners Kathy Bates and Angela Basset respectively, were actual notorious women of the 1700s in New Orleans.

Delphine LaLaurie became a well-known wealthy wife after building a mansion on Royal Street.

The house was once owned by actor Nicholas Cage. LaLaurie also became known for mistreatment of her slaves.

What went on in the LaLaurie’s home would soon become New Orleans history.

Residents of the surrounding area reported incidents that LaLaurie perpetuated.

One day, a neighbor said they saw a young slave being chased by LaLaurie with a whip.

The girl ran to the top of the roof of the house a jumped to her death. Being dead was better than being a slave of vicious LaLaurie.

The accident was investigated and LaLaurie lost ownership of all nine of her slaves. It was then when the house became a house of terror.

LaLaurie was so cruel she bought back the same slaves she lost at a slave auction. Sometime after, a 70-year-old slave started a fire that burned down half of the house.

The fire left behind a lot of damage but revealed the truth behind the closed doors.

The fire was investigated and the 70-year-old slave admitted to starting the fire as a desperate call for help.

The police found slaves with shackles attached to their necks and beaten to the point of being disabled to walk.  The slaves were also reported as being malnourished.

Only a few blocks away lived Marie Laveau. Whether or not the two women knew each other was unknown, but due to their local publicity and social status the two women may have known about one another.

Marie Laveau was a renowned voodoo priestess of her time. Laveau used her practices as a ladder to become successful and wealthy.

Laveau did everything she could in her power to get what she wanted-and whatever she wanted she got.

Rumors were spread about Laveau having a brothel in her home.

Laveau would use her prostitutes to weed out gossip about locals to use as blackmail when she needed it the most.

Laveau’s grave is now a tourist attraction in New Orleans. The grave is covered with multiple groups of three X’s.

People who visit the tomb scribe three X’s in hopes of Laveau granting their wishes.