Watch Us In Your Living Room
Enjoy Very Local on the big screen.
Visit your favorite app store to download.

Lady Delaney’s World Is Like Ours, Only Smaller

Lady Delaney keeps things bite-sized in her real-life miniatures and fictional mysteries.

by Alex Galbraith
October 28, 2021

(Photo: Kelsey Campion/Marrow Creative)

Whether it’s via her mail-order mysteries crafted out of correspondence between long-dead citizens of New Orleans or her shop selling hand-crafted miniatures, Lady Delaney is always creating small worlds.

The miniatures artist who now calls New Orleans home has made a living doing what all great storytellers do: saying something about the (much) larger world in a contained, scale-model version of it.

That Delaney would be so skilled at sucking people into vest-pocket stories makes sense. The urge to shrink things down and create something new runs in the family.

“My grandpa had made dollhouses for his granddaughters and for my grandma. He’d make these beautiful dollhouses and so growing up we always made little things for them,” she said in a recent interview with Very Local.

Delaney grew up making miniatures as well as other craft projects at her family’s kitchen table. She says that one year she made an box of personalized miniatures for her grandmother’s dollhouse to give as a Christmas gift, including a small-scale version of her grandmother’s wedding dress and family portraits and the urge to keep crafting stuck with her.

Delaney said that she began selling the miniatures as a “way to justify making them.”

“It was a surprise to learn that people were interested in what I was making,” she said.

That justification grew into a full-blown career crafting custom miniatures and mysteries for people to get lost in. She launched a series of subscription boxes, telling a dense story built around her skill-set.

“I thought, ‘I have this talent for forging historical documents and I have people who really love my miniature work so I’m going to see if I can create a mystery that dives deep into storytelling.”

After that initial run, she decided to try a documents-only mailer that would lay out another mystery. The resulting series, Letters From Dead People, extended the dollhouse universe with ghostly stories via convincingly aged papers.

“People have different access points for history. Some people like to go to museums. Some people like to dress up as re-enactors. Some people watch films,” Delaney explained of the impetus behind her series. “And I think that one of the ways that people sympathize with people of the past is through ghost stories. It’s one way to kind of enjoy the drama that people were going through.”

Delaney said that she’s seen an intense reaction from the people who decide to take on her mysteries, with some participants mailing back speculation about her characters.

“People get so immersed in this world. It’s really fun and exciting,” she said. “Most of these are cooked up alone in my office apartment. It’s fun to see them take on a life of their own.”

In New Orleans, she’s found an entire city that loves a good story as much as she does. She used that go-along-with-it spirit to help build her latest case, hiding 13 small tombs in businesses throughout the city and giving people a case file to hopefully help find them.

“When I first discovered New Orleans I was totally enchanted by the architecture, the music and the food, all those really kind of tangible things you could put your fingers on. Since moving here, I have discovered the most incredible community of people,” she said. “They are who you go to with weird hair-brained schemes. When you go to [NAME REDACTED] and say ‘Hey, I want to hide a miniature tomb in your [SAME]’ and they’re on board with it. That’s just not true of every city.”

In fact, when we spoke to Delaney, she had just received a mysterious package of her own. Inside a series of ever-smaller envelopes, she found a message to go to a hotel on Gravier St. She had the cavalier attitude about it that you might expect from someone who regularly conjures ghosts in her ever-expanding mysteries.

“Hopefully, it’s not my untimely end.”

To learn more about Lady Delaney’s latest mystery, head here. To see her miniatures, head to Petit Paris Market (or her Etsy). You can also see her on Very Local’s “Maker Nation” here. Install Very Local to stream news, weather and more on your Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Android TV.

He has a distinct voice that you will come to know more as you follow VL NOLA. He has shown himself to be an intrepid entertainment and culture writer, who always knows about the best events, happenings and performers before anybody else. Now, he’s going to tell you all about them here at Very Local NOLA.

More Local Stories

Super Punch: The Spirit of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is the only U.S. city that imports Super Punch – a dark, Italian amaro. We take a deep dive into this viscous spirit and its ties to the region.

Pyre Press Makes Its Mark on Metal

Known for their distinctive four-sided band tees—with detailed prints on the front and back as well as the sleeves—Pyre Press now creates merch for many of Pittsburgh’s underground metal bands.

True crime stories from local communities

Two serial killers whose chilling crimes left their communities devastated.

Ed and Day in the ‘Burgh

Comedians, podcasters and craft beer enthusiasts Ed Bailey and Day Bracey explore hot spots, hidden gems and the best places to grab a cold brew in the ‘Burgh.

Beyond Bargain Books: A Peek into Boston’s Oldest Bookstore

Located on West Street, Brattle Bookshop is one of the oldest used and antique bookstores in the country. 

More Than a Cup of Joe: Boston’s Best Boutique Cafes

In Boston, a great cup of coffee is just around the corner. Here are a few special coffee shops you can try. 

12 Binge-Worthy Boston Movies to Cozy Up With This Winter

Pahk yah cah, grab a beer, and escape with these Boston-based hits.

Ain’t Dere No More: Canal Street’s Dime a Dozen store

In 1884, Robinson’s Mammoth Dime Museum and Theatre opened on Canal Street, housing novelties and variety acts daily for a thin dime.

Gov. Esteban Miró: The Man who Remade New Orleans

Esteban Miro, the longest serving governor of the Louisiana colony, implemented numerous policies during his tenure to make New Orleans a thriving port city.

What is Very Local?

Top 5-04: Locally made coloring books

No matter your age, coloring books are sure to inspire your creativity.

The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating the 2021 Holiday Season in NOLA

From Celebration in the Oaks to Luna Fete and Reveillon, here are our favorite ways to celebrate the season.

How Genre-Defying Musician Gram Parsons Came to be Buried in Metairie

Gram Parsons was a singer/songwriter coming to fame in the 1950s and 60s, credited with creating alt-country and combining country western music with rock & roll. An overdose, a stolen body and two lawsuits later, Parsons was finally laid to rest in Metairie.

Where to Find Relics from New Orleans’ 1984 World’s Fair

The 1984 World’s Fair provided cherished memories for a generation of New Orleanians, but it also helped transform our city.