This image is the cover for the book Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps

Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps

This true crime history reveals the story of a deranged dentist in 19th century New Orleans whose obsession with pirate treasure led him to murder.

Believing he had magnetic and hypnotic powers, Dr. Etienne Deschamps was convinced he could find the lost treasure of legendary pirate Jean Lafitte. But he needed a young virgin to act as his spirit medium. He chose twelve-year-old Juliette Dietsh, whose immigrant family was dependent on his charity. For months, Deschamps hypnotized, anaesthetized, and sexually molested Dietsh, hoping she would lead him to the treasure. Then he made fatal a mistake.

In 1889, Dietsh was found naked and dead from a chloroform overdose in bed next to a distraught Deschamps. Her murder became one of the most notorious crimes in New Orleans history. To some, Deschamps heinous act was deserving of the death penalty, while others believed he was innocent by reason of insanity. This incisive examination of the murder, trials, and newspaper coverage invites readers to rethink this famous case.

Christopher G. Peña

Native New Orleanian Christopher G. Peña is a writer and researcher. One of the foremost historians of Southeast Louisiana Civil War History, he has published several books on Louisiana history and written numerous essays and articles. Peña earned his history degree from Nicholls State University, where he also taught for several decades. He lives with his family in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Pelican Publishing