Marie Laveau, The Voodoo Queen

If there was ever a true queen of voodoo, it was Marie Laveau, a Creole woman born in 1801 to white politician Charles Laveau and free black woman Marguerite Darkentel, who raised her on her father's plantation. As a young woman, Mary moved to New Orleans' French Quarter, where she developed into a voodoo barber and well-respected businesswoman. Lavu's voodoo was somewhat unique, however, as she was also a devout Catholic, infusing her practice with Christian beliefs such as holy water, candles, and the imagery of saints.

Laveau's first husband, Jacques Paris, mysteriously disappeared, and is believed to have died in 1820, but no one is quite sure how. This didn't stop Marie from referring to herself as Widow Paris for the rest of her life, which is a bit odd, given that she spent most of it with businessman Christopher de Glapon, with whom she had seven children. (Though they never married due to contemporary laws against inter-caste marriage). Interestingly, although Lavoe himself was black, he and Glapon owned at least seven slaves in their lifetime, although it is not known how these slaves were treated and the French laws and English laws of Louisiana. It is important to note the difference between States, the latter of which were more restrictive about slavery and treated race in more complete terms.

Not much is known about the famous voodoo queen, but her abilities arose naturally from her hairdressing days, when she listened to the confessions and woes of her wealthy clients and offered her sage advice. On Sundays, Laveau went to Congo Square – the most isolated part of the city, where people of all races and classes co-mingled – to sell amulets and charms and perform rituals and readings for charmed customers.

Eventually, Laveau made her way into an underground voodoo club, Maison Blanche, where she performed more elaborate shows and developed a larger following. After all, he had a fan base big enough to host in his stately home on St. Ann Street. In these performances, he used snakes to evoke the spirit of the Great Zombie, or Damballa, a benevolent and wise deity who is said to guide mortals through the many ups and downs of everyday life, the snake. interpreting K's hiss and relaying the Great Zombie's guidance to his audience. Music, singing and dancing were also a staple of Laveau's spiritual performance. Good timing and good advice- that was the Voodoo Queen way.

However, Laveau's services to the community were not limited to his talents. She spent a great deal of time and energy learning herbalism, developing treatments for ailments, and volunteering as a nurse for patients suffering from yellow fever. She was also a champion for praying in their final hours with prisoners jailed, posting bail or sentenced to death.

Laveau did well in life, but as beloved as she was, for many times she still shunned voodoo and its practices, terming it secretive or immoral in nature, and discouraging Christians from participating in rituals. Still, whether or not Laveau had supernatural powers, he certainly had the power to offer sound advice, which made him an important part of the New Orleans community and landed him on the pages of local history.

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