Marie Laveau (1801? - June 16, 1881?) was an American practitioner of voodoo.
Very little is known with any certainty about the life of Marie Laveau. She is supposed to have been born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1801, the daughter of a white planter and a free Creole of Color (a multi-racial combination of African, Native American, and French (or Spanish)). She married Jacques Paris, also a free Creole of color, on August 4, 1819; her marriage certificate is preserved in Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
Jacques Paris died in 1820 under unexplained circumstances; after his death, Marie Laveau became a hairdresser who catered to wealthy white families. She took a lover, Luis Christopher Duminy de Glapion, with whom she lived until his death in 1835.
Of her magical career, little definite can be said. She is said to have had a snake called Zombi. Oral traditions suggest that the occult part of her magic mixed Roman Catholic beliefs and saints with African spirits and religious concepts. It is also alleged that her feared magical powers came in fact from a network of informants in the households of the prominent that she developed while a hairdresser and that she owned her own brothel. She excelled at obtaining inside information on her wealthy patrons by apparently instilling fear in their servants whom she "cured" of mysterious ailments.
On June 16, 1881, the New Orleans newspapers announced that Marie Laveau had died. This is noteworthy if only because she continued to be seen in the town after her supposed demise. It is claimed that one of her daughters by M. Glapion assumed her name and carried on her magical practice after her death.
According to the list of deaths recorded at RootsWeb.com, a certain Marie Glapion Lavau died on June 15, 1881, aged 98. The different spelling of the last name as well as the age at death may result from inaccuracies during entry of the cited text file.
She is buried in Saint Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans, in the Glapion family crypt. The tomb continues to attract visitors who draw three crosses (XXX) on its side, hoping that her spirit will grant them a wish.
Marie Laveau's Tomb
Exploring Saint Louis Cemetery
Marie Laveau In Modern Fiction
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