Marie Laveau passed away on June 17, 1881. And more than 130 years later, people still flock to New Orleans to visit her tomb and to take Voodoo tours.
Born a free woman of color in 1801 (though some historians debate the year of her birth), Laveau was a renowned voudou queen and devout Catholic. By the 1830s, Marie Laveau’s combination of clairvoyance, healing abilities, beauty, charisma, showmanship, intimidation, and business sense had enabled her to assume leadership of a multiracial religious community. She gave consultations and held weekly ceremonies at her home on St. Ann Street. According to her lengthy obituary in the New York Times, "Lawyers, legislators, planters, merchants all came to pay their respects to her and seek her offices, and the narrow room heard as much with and scandal as any of the historical salons of Paris. "
To learn more about Marie Laveau and the history of Voodoo in New Orleans check out one of the books below:
In 2013 Laveau's tomb was vandalized, causing the Catholic church to close the cemetery to visitors without a guide. This book provides information on Marie Laveau and the family members, friends, and strangers interred in the famous tomb.
The first study of Marie Laveau and her daughter of the same name, legendary New Orleans Voodoo practitioners. The Laveaus were free women of color and prominent French-speaking Catholic Creoles. From the 1820s until the 1880s when one died and the other disappeared, gossip, fear, and fierce affection swirled about them.
In this biography Long attempts to disentangle the facts from the legend surrounding Marie Laveau.
Laveau has also inspired multiple novels. Check out this mystery featuring a descendant of Marie Laveau studying medicine in New Orleans who begins investigating the murder of a former lover.