gardette-lapretre house in new orleans
Photo: Alexey Sergeev
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Gardette-LaPrete House (The Sultan's Palace)
New Orleans, Louisiana

This Greek Revival is the site of one of the most gruesome mass slayings in New Orleans history. In the late 1830s, wealthy plantation owner Jean Baptiste LaPrete bought the pink French Quarter residence as a vacation home. Soon after, he added the trademark wrought-iron lace rails to the balconies and set out in search of a renter to occupy the property when he wasn't using it himself. A rich young man from Turkey answered LaPrete's call and moved in with a tremendous entourage, complete with a harem and eunuchs. The house became renowned for its mysterious parties, which neighbors experienced in the music and incense escaping through cracks in the door. One morning, a passerby noticed something less pleasant escaping from under the door. It was blood. Authorities entered the house to find everyone within dismembered and mutilated. The renter, who came to be known as "The Sultan," was buried alive in the courtyard. While pirates have been blamed for the murders, it is theorized the Turk was the brother of an actual sultan, who ordered his male relatives executed in an effort to eliminate competition for the sultanate.
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