Marie Laveau was probably the most famous Voodoo Queen in North America and, nowadays, even further. Legend has it, she practiced Voodooism for over hundred years while others claim she is immortal and still practicing Voodoo today. Marie's skills were so powerful that she could grant you anything you wished for. Therefore, her persona is largely surrounded with mystical beliefs and claims. The truth is, Marie was more than just a practitioner of voodoo; she played an important role in popularizing voodooism and making it fashionable. In the following article, we will take a look into the life of one of the most mysterious woman ever.
Marie Laveau were actually two different woman; mother Marie Laveau I. and her daughter Marie Laveau II. Somehow, the public never made the distinction between the mother and the daughter due to their similar physical looks. This is the reason for her practice to last for over a hundred years.
MARIE LAVEAU I
Marie Laveau I, the mother was born in New Orleans in the late 18th century. She was an illegitimate daughter of Charles Laveau and Marguerite Darcantrel. Her physical appearance is described as tall with curly back hair and reddish skin.
She married Jacques Paris on August 4th, 1819 who disappeared soon after their marriage. This is when Marie started to address herself as the Widow Paris. Around the same time, Marie started working as a hairdresser where she started getting insights into her client's lives. Her clientele would confess their deepest secrets and fears to Marie; from their lovers to their husband's mistresses, their financial situation, estates, family problems, business affairs, fears of insanity and many more. Therefore, Marie became a hairdresser who was actually a psychologist.
In about 1826., Marie got together with Louis Christopher Duminy de Clapion. The two of them never married but had 15 children and lived together until the day he died. At the same time, Marie started to fully concentrate on becoming the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She was known for merging Voodoo with Catholicism. Therefore, Marie would use holy water, incense, statues of saints and Christian prayers and incorporate them into her Voodoo rituals. She quickly attracted plenty of attention while slowly becoming the most powerful woman in New Orleans. She ran her Voodoo practices in a house named Maison Blanche. Eventually, her star rose to the point that judges would pay her as much as $1000 to win an election.
At the age of 70, Marie announced she was retiring. However, she never completely retired. Instead she continued her work until 1875 and died in 1891. Strangely, her obituaries state she lived her life as a devoted Catholic without mentioning Voodoo at all. Furthermore, there were several claims that she was seen after her death. However, others believe they simply encountered her daughter, Marie Laveau II.
MARIE LAVEAU II
Marie Laveau II., a daughter, was born on February 2nd, 1827. She shared a striking resemblance to her mother as well as similar interests. Therefore, when her mother died, she just continued her legacy. People who were not close to two Maries could not make a distinction between the mother and the daughter making them one immortal person.
In reality, Marie Laveau II started just as her mother; as a hairdresser. Eventually, in continuation to her mother's legacy, she took over operations in the house her mother built for secret Voodoo meetings (Maison Blanche). Besides Voodoo meetings, this is where Marie held lavish parties for wealthy and rich. There parties were never raided by the police because the police feared to cross Marie.
At one point, Marie died for the public. She didn't really die, instead she just pulled away from the public eye. The truth of how and when she actually died is uncertain. Some claim she died in a storm in 1890s while others claim they've seen her as late as 1918. The uncertainty of Marie Laveau II's death only adds to the mystery that she is actually one immortal woman.
Many believe Marie Laveau is buried in the Glapion family crypt, in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans. However, there is another plot with the same name of Marie Laveau in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 2. This created a legend that Marie rests in various different cemeteries in the city. Many people still ask Marie for favors and, if their wish is granted, they will draw XXX on her tomb (see second picture).
In conclusion, who was Marie Laveau? In all reality, she was a person who succeeded under hard conditions, a person that stood up for her people, a person that merged cultures, a person that counselled and helped people and a person who managed to do all that and more, while managing to grab our attention to what matters.
Thanks for a read!