What Was Marie Laveau Known For? Discovering the Legacy of the Voodoo Queen

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 7 February 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Marie Laveau was a renowned figure in the history of New Orleans. She was a powerful and influential woman who was known for her voodoo practices and supernatural abilities. Her life and legacy have become the subject of countless books, movies, and documentaries.

Marie Laveau was born in 1801 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the daughter of a free woman of color and a white plantation owner. Marie grew up in a city that was deeply divided along racial and cultural lines. Despite the challenges she faced, she became one of the most respected and feared women in the city.

Marie Laveau was primarily known for her voodoo practices. She was a skilled practitioner of the religion and was believed to have supernatural powers. People from all walks of life sought her help and guidance. She was known to have healed the sick, helped people find love, and even exacted revenge on their enemies. Her influence extended far beyond the realm of voodoo, and she was respected by both black and white communities in New Orleans.

Early Life

Birth and Background

Marie Laveau, the renowned Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, was born on September 10, 1801, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Her parents were both free people of color, and her mother was a Creole woman of African, Native American, and French descent, while her father was a white planter.

Growing up in a multicultural environment, Marie Laveau was exposed to a variety of cultural and religious practices, including African spiritual traditions, Catholicism, and Voodoo. Her diverse background and exposure to different cultures would later influence her beliefs and practices as a Voodoo priestess.

Early Influences

As a young girl, Marie Laveau was known for her beauty, intelligence, and spiritual gifts. She was said to have possessed clairvoyant abilities and was able to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Her mother, who was a devout Catholic, also had a significant influence on her upbringing and spiritual beliefs.

Marie Laveau’s early exposure to Voodoo came from her grandmother, who was a renowned Voodoo priestess. Her grandmother taught her the secrets of Voodoo, including the use of herbs, charms, and spells, as well as the importance of honoring the spirits of the dead. These teachings would later become the foundation of Marie Laveau’s practice as a Voodoo priestess.

Marie Laveau learns Voodoo secrets from her grandmother, a priestess
Marie Laveau learns Voodoo secrets from her grandmother, a priestess

Despite her early exposure to Voodoo, Marie Laveau was also a devout Catholic and attended Mass regularly. She believed that Voodoo and Catholicism could coexist peacefully and often incorporated elements of both religions into her practice.

Voodoo Queen

Marie Laveau, also known as the Voodoo Queen, was a prominent figure in New Orleans during the 19th century. Her reputation as a powerful voodoo practitioner and healer earned her a following among both the black and white communities.

Rise to Prominence

Marie Laveau was born into a free Creole family in New Orleans in 1801. She began practicing voodoo at a young age and quickly gained a reputation for her abilities. Her clients included wealthy plantation owners and slaves alike, and she was known for her ability to heal the sick and bring good luck to those who sought her help.

As her fame grew, Marie Laveau became a prominent figure in New Orleans society. She was known for her beauty, intelligence, and charisma, and she used her influence to advocate for the rights of free people of color.

Practices and Beliefs

Marie Laveau’s voodoo practices were a blend of African, Catholic, and Native American traditions. She believed in the power of charms, amulets, and potions, and she used these tools to help her clients achieve their goals.

One of Marie Laveau’s most famous rituals was the “Voodoo Queen’s Walk,” a procession that took place on St. John’s Eve. During the ceremony, Marie Laveau and her followers would dance, sing, and perform voodoo rituals in honor of the spirits.

Marie Laveau leads the "Voodoo Queen's Walk" on St. John's Eve
Marie Laveau leads the “Voodoo Queen’s Walk” on St. John’s Eve

Influence on Voodoo

Marie Laveau’s influence on voodoo in New Orleans cannot be overstated. She was a powerful figure who commanded respect and admiration from both her followers and her enemies. Her legacy lives on in the many voodoo traditions that are still practiced in New Orleans today.

Despite her reputation as a voodoo queen, Marie Laveau was also known for her acts of kindness and charity. She often used her wealth and influence to help those in need, and she was a beloved figure in her community until her death in 1881.

Cultural Icon

Marie Laveau was a prominent figure in New Orleans history and has become a cultural icon in the city. Her reputation as a powerful voodoo priestess has been the subject of many stories, books, and films over the years.

Representation in Media

Marie Laveau has been portrayed in various forms of media, including movies, television shows, and books. One of the most popular depictions of her was in the American Horror Story television series, where she was played by Angela Bassett. She has also been featured in the book “The Witching Hour” by Anne Rice.

Literary Depictions

Marie Laveau has been the subject of many books over the years, both fiction and non-fiction. One of the most well-known books about her is “Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau” by Martha Ward. This book explores her life and legacy in great detail, from her childhood to her death and beyond.

In conclusion, Marie Laveau’s legacy as a voodoo priestess has made her a cultural icon in New Orleans. Her representation in media and literature has helped to keep her story alive for generations to come.

Community Leader

Marie Laveau was not only known for her spiritual practices, but also for her leadership within the community. She was a prominent figure in New Orleans during the 19th century and was highly respected by those who knew her.

Charitable Works

Marie Laveau was known for her charitable works within the community. She was known to have provided food and shelter to the homeless and needy. She also provided medical care to those who could not afford it. Her acts of kindness were greatly appreciated by the community and earned her a reputation as a selfless and compassionate person.

Social Impact

Marie Laveau had a significant impact on the social fabric of New Orleans. She was known to have brought people from different backgrounds together and encouraged them to work towards a common goal. Her leadership and guidance helped to create a sense of unity among the people of New Orleans.

Marie Laveau’s influence extended beyond the spiritual realm and into the social and humanitarian aspects of the community. Her legacy continues to inspire people to this day.

Final Years

Later Life

In her later years, Marie Laveau became increasingly reclusive and withdrew from public life. She continued to practice her voodoo rituals and provide spiritual guidance to those who sought her out, but she no longer held the same level of influence and power that she had in her youth.

Despite her diminished status, Marie remained a respected figure in the New Orleans community, and many people still sought her out for her wisdom and guidance. She passed away on June 15, 1881, at the age of 79.


Marie Laveau’s legacy lives on to this day, and she is still remembered as one of the most influential figures in the history of voodoo. Her reputation as a powerful spiritual leader and healer has inspired countless people over the years, and her name has become synonymous with the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans.

Today, visitors to New Orleans can still visit the tomb of Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, where her spirit is said to continue to watch over the city and its inhabitants. Her influence can also be seen in the many voodoo shops and spiritual practitioners that still operate in New Orleans today, keeping alive the traditions that Marie Laveau worked so hard to preserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some important facts about Marie Laveau?

Marie Laveau was a prominent figure in New Orleans Voodoo during the 19th century. She was born in 1801 and died in 1881. She was known for her healing powers and her ability to communicate with spirits. Marie Laveau was also a hairdresser and used her salon as a gathering place for people to discuss Voodoo and seek advice.

Why is Marie Laveau referred to as the queen of Voodoo?

Marie Laveau earned the title “queen of Voodoo” due to her influence and leadership in the Voodoo community of New Orleans. She was known for her extensive knowledge of Voodoo practices and her ability to heal the sick. Her reputation as a powerful Voodoo priestess spread throughout the city and beyond.

Who was Marie Laveau and what is her historical significance?

Marie Laveau was a free woman of color who lived in New Orleans during the 19th century. She was a prominent figure in the city’s Voodoo community and was known for her healing abilities and her leadership. Her historical significance lies in her role as a powerful and respected Voodoo priestess who helped to shape the culture of New Orleans.

What is the legend associated with Marie Laveau?

One of the most famous legends associated with Marie Laveau is that she had the ability to transform herself into a large black crow. According to the legend, she would use this power to spy on people and gather information. Another legend claims that she was able to raise the dead.

How did Marie Laveau contribute to the practice of Voodoo?

Marie Laveau was instrumental in preserving and promoting the practice of Voodoo in New Orleans. She was known for her extensive knowledge of Voodoo rituals and practices, and she used her influence to help others learn about and understand the religion. She also helped to dispel myths and misconceptions about Voodoo.

Who succeeded Marie Laveau as a prominent figure in Voodoo?

After Marie Laveau’s death, her daughter, also named Marie Laveau, became a prominent figure in the Voodoo community. She continued her mother’s work as a healer and leader, and she also helped to preserve and promote the practice of Voodoo in New Orleans.

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