The Legacy of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans

by M-Gillies
Marie Laveau's mausoleum

Numerous offerings and triple x’s can still be found on the tombs of mother and daughter from people looking for their wishes to be granted.

Born in 1827, Marie Laveau Glapion was one of 15 children living in Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s home on Rampart Street. Described as a virtual replica of her mother, Marie II was said to have lacked the compassion and warmth of her mother.

Carrying on the rich traditions and persona of the Voodoo Queen begun by her mother, Marie II oversaw the operations of Maison Blanche, the house which her mother allegedly had built for secret voodoo meetings and liaisons between white men and black women. While hosting lavish parties offering champagne, fine food, wine, music and naked black girls dancing for white men, politicians and high officials, the Maison Blanche was never raided by police, out of fear that if they crossed Marie II, she would place a Hoodoo upon them.

In following in her mother’s footsteps, Marie II remained strongly connected to the Voodoo rituals of the Saint John’s Day celebration along the shores of St. John’s Bayou where it met the waters of Lake Pontachartrain. It was during these celebrations where both mother and daughter held ceremonial rituals of song and dance with crowds joining in.

As part of the ceremony, a cauldron of boiling water was filled with salt, black pepper, a black cat, black rooster, various powders and a snake sliced in three pieces to represent the Trinity. After which, the group would strip down and swim in the lake, followed by a sermon from Marie II.

While the ceremonies were first held by the matriarch, Marie II continued the ceremonial rituals yearly after the death of her mother.

Unlike her mother, who’s death was mourned peacefully, Marie II is claimed to have drowned in 1897 after performing her annual ritual on Lake Pontachartrain. To date, visitors can pay their respect to the two Laveau’s located in the St. Louis Cemetery, with Marie Laveau I is buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1 in the vault of Famille Veuvee Paris nee Laveau, and Marie Laveau Glapion II in the vault of the Desdunes family.

However, some claim that the legendary Laveau women never died and that even they visit the cemeteries as devoted followers mark the tombs with three X’s and leaving Hoodoo offerings in return for favours.

To date, the tomb of Marie Laveau attracts more visitors than the grave of Elvis Presley, and while she is not officially considered a saint, there has been a strong movement to have the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans canonized.

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