Marie Laveau, The Voodoo Queen.

If there was ever a true queen of Voodoo, it was Marie Laveau, a Creole woman born in 1801 to white politician Charles Laveau and free black woman Marguerite Darcantel, who raised her on the fathers plantation. As a young woman, Marie moved into the New Orleans French Quarter, where she blossomed as a hairdresser and well-respected practitioner of Voodoo. Laveus Voodoo was somewhat unique, however, as she was likewise a devout Catholic who infused her practice with Christian beliefs like the power of holy water, candles, and imagery of saints.

Laveaus first husband, Jacques Paris, mysteriously vanished, and though he is believed to have died in 1820, no one is quite sure how. That didnt stop Marie from referring to herself as the Widow Paris for the rest of her life, which is a little awkward, considering she spent most of it with businessman Christopher de Glaipon, with whom she had seven children (although they never married due to contemporary laws against interracial marriage). Interestingly, Laveau was also black herself, but she and Grypon owned at least seven slaves during her lifetime. However, it is unclear how these slaves were treated, and it is important to note the differences between French law in Louisiana and English law that governs much of the United States, the latter of which is associated with slavery. It was more restrictive to people, and race was treated as an absolute.

Not much is known about the legendary Voodoo queen, but her abilities seemed to have arisen naturally from her hairdressing days, when she heard the confessions and woes of her wealthy clients and offered her own sage advice. On Sundays, Laveau went to Congo Square—the most unsegregated part of the city, where people of all races and classes co-mingled—to sell amulets and charms and perform rituals and readings for a spellbound clientele.

Eventually, Laveau made her way to Maison Blanche, an underground Voodoo club, where she put on more elaborate shows and grew a larger band of followers. Eventually, she had a big enough fan base to host in her own stately home on St. Ann Street. In these performances, she used snakes to evoke the spirit of the Great Zombi, or Damballa, a benevolent and wise god who is said to guide mortals through the many ups and downs of everyday life, interpreting the snakes hisses and relaying the Great Zombis guidance to her audience. Music, singing and dancing were also staples of Laveau’s spiritual performances. Good times and good advice – that’s how the voodoo queen did it.

But Laveau’s service to the community was not limited to her talent alone. She devoted much of her time and energy to studying herbalism, developing cures for the disease, and volunteering as a nurse for yellow fever patients. She also lobbied for those incarcerated, including posting bail and praying with death row inmates in their final hours.

Laveau had a good life, but because of her popularity, she for the most part avoided voodoo and her practices of it, calling it the occult or immoral, and the practice of which Christians practiced. prevented from participating. Whether or not Laveau possessed supernatural powers, she undoubtedly had the ability to offer sound advice, which made her a valuable member of the New Orleans community and a part of local history. earned her position.