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Marie Laveau(s)


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#1 Willow

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 06:47 PM

One of the most popular women in New Orleans history, Marie Laveau, voodoo queen, is also one of the least understood. Myths about her life and death. In fact, there is disagreement even as to where and how she died and where she is buried.

From the writing of local historians two Marie Laveaus emerge; one is a free woman of color born in New Orleans in the mid 1790's. The other is a woman considerably younger than the first and believed to have been the elder Marie's illegitimate daughter.


There are countless stories about the power of Marie Laveau as a voodoo queen, sorceress, healer, and psychic, but none of these are documented historically. Voodoo, brought to New Orleans by African slaves and immigrants from Santo Domingo and Haiti, has been practiced since the 1700s. Even today some people have voodoo altars in their homes and participate in voodoo rituals.

The voodoo queen, unlike the voodoo doctor (male) was in charge of ceremonies and dances in the 1800s and held a powerful position in black, quadroon and white society because of her reputed ability to use the occult. The profession of hairdresser gave both Marie Laveaus access to the private lives and secrets of the women's hair and dispensing ample advice. Some of the Laveau magic may have been common sense and homespun psychology.

In time the name of Marie Laveau became distorted. Mothers threatened their children that she would put a curse on those who didn't behave. She was thought of as an evil witch, capable of causing unimaginable trouble. But there are also reports of her as a nurse. Others mention that small children went to her home every Saturday morning for the brown sugar sticks she would hand out.

When Marie Laveau discontinued voodoo after the Civil War, Malvina Latour took over as New Orleans voodoo queen for another twenty years, but she never gained the notoriety of her predecessor. The cult began to disintegrate, and in the past ninety years there has been no acknowledged queen.

Whatever the truth may be about Marie Laveau, the concept remains of a strong, independent woman who earned the fear and respect of an entire city.



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#2 Laurie Ann

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 05:51 AM

~Wow Willow!!! That kind of stuff just fascinates me to no end!! I know it was just a movie...but you know the movie "Skeleton Key"? What type of voodoo magic were they projecting in this movie? I can't remember, but thought it was very interesting. Thank you for that article, as I love to read about the history of New Orleans...it's so vibrant & rich. :bluebounce:
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#3 SpookyChick

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 01:28 PM

I've been to the grave of Marie Laveau in New Orleans. Not only are the above ground cemeteries pretty creepy in general, but her grave is marked by voodoo symbols and signs, littered with little gifts and flowers people still bring in the hopes Marie can help them from beyond the grave. The tour guide recommended NEVER going into the cemetery at night, because of the voodoo followers who visit her crypt after dark.

I've also heard the rumor about her being both herself AND her daughter (i.e., two different Marie Laveaus), which is probably true, because taking on the identity of her mother would only enhance the younger Marie's powers, and add to the legend of Marie living forever. Whatever the truth was, I'm in the camp that believes Marie Laveau was nobody to mess with. :bluebounce:

The Skeleton Key was a cool movie, too. Definitely the dark side of voodoo being practiced in that one. The "soul transfer" theory is an accepted belief in voodoo, which is basically where the whole idea of zombies came from. The living person becomes the "cheval", or the horse, housing a spirit that the mambo or the houngan (priestess or priest) controls.
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#4 MELLY

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:26 PM

Marie was a fascinating woman! After I visited NOLA for the first time back in the late 80's I was obsessed with her.

I don't remember the name of the book that I bought when I was there or who wrote it, but there was this simple little spell in it to give a person a headache. Vinegar, ginger, writing the person's name on a piece of paper, I don't remember the whole thing but I tried it a few times and it worked.

I'll never forget the first time and the person that I had "cast the spell on" told me what a horrendous headache they had. Tee hee...I felt so bad....okay not really, as I recall they deserved it.
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#5 Ladywithafan

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:50 PM

When I was in N.O. during the mid 90's I went to the Vodoo Museum and asked for help from her. Visited the grave sight in St. Louis #1 as well. I did get what I wanted & on a return trip, went back to the museum & gave a thank you note for her.

I don't believe vodoo is anything to mess with! I was conceived in New Orleans and have a very special place for that city in my heart. Went I went there for the very first time, it felt like I was home.

I went on one of the ghost walking tours with my xhusband...we had just been to Hard Rock Cafe and had glasses (souvieners) in my backpack. Both glasses were perfect. On the walk, I felt tugging on my backpack. I was on St. Charles, where my deceased father used to love to walk. When we returned to the hotel, I found one of the glasses to be cracked as well as I had cracked a baguette in my engagement ring! Weird, eh?

#6 BellaRose

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 02:08 PM

When I was in N.O. during the mid 90's I went to the Vodoo Museum and asked for help from her. Visited the grave sight in St. Louis #1 as well. I did get what I wanted & on a return trip, went back to the museum & gave a thank you note for her.

I don't believe vodoo is anything to mess with! I was conceived in New Orleans and have a very special place for that city in my heart. Went I went there for the very first time, it felt like I was home.

I went on one of the ghost walking tours with my xhusband...we had just been to Hard Rock Cafe and had glasses (souvieners) in my backpack. Both glasses were perfect. On the walk, I felt tugging on my backpack. I was on St. Charles, where my deceased father used to love to walk. When we returned to the hotel, I found one of the glasses to be cracked as well as I had cracked a baguette in my engagement ring! Weird, eh?


Great Story Lady!
You mentioned you went on the walk to St.Charles with your ex-husband...
Could your dad have been trying to give you hint not to marry him?
Just a thought...
~Bellarose

#7 Bewitchingbee

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 06:39 PM

~Wow Willow!!! That kind of stuff just fascinates me to no end!! I know it was just a movie...but you know the movie "Skeleton Key"? What type of voodoo magic were they projecting in this movie? I can't remember, but thought it was very interesting. Thank you for that article, as I love to read about the history of New Orleans...it's so vibrant & rich. :)


Hi Laurie Ann,

I also enjoyed the movie "Skeleton Key". This was not "voodoo" used in the movie, but hoodoo. Most people get those two moxed up. Voodoo or Voudoo, is a religion. I don't know a lot about it. Hoodoo however is one of my favorite subjects. Hoodoo is magic of a mixed background. It's roots are mainly African, but also derives from Native American (esp. in regards to herbs), and European (esp German).
Cat Yronwode is a hoodoo folklorist authority and was an advisor for that movie. I learned a lot from her. She has an amazing amount of knowledge about hoodoo practice and lore, and she also has a hoodoo rootwork corrspondence course that I took. If you have an interest, give her site a look- Lucky Mojo.
Best Witches,
Bewitchingbee




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