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AP Tureaud
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  Alexander Dumas





When the elder Marie Laveau died in 1881, the younger Laveau was fifty-four years old and soon thereafter dropped from sight. Her death is given as 1890. The tomb of the elder Marie Laveau is supposedly located in St. Louis Cemetery #1 on Basin Street in the vault of "Famille Veuvee Paris nee Laveau.

" People today still place flowers there and mark x's in chalk on the vault as assurance of favors to be granted.The tomb of Marie Laveau the second is given as in St. Louis Cemetery #2 on Iberville Street in the vault of the Desdunes family. A few years ago black historians researching the issue placed her in a different tomb a few feet away under the name Mrs. Charles Laveau.

There are countless stories about the power of Marie Laveau as a voodoo queen, sorceress, healer, and psychic, but none of these are documented historically. Voodoo, brought to New Orleans by African slaves and immigrants from Santo Domingo and Haiti, has been practiced since the 1700s. Even today some people have voodoo altars in their homes and participate in voodoo rituals.

The voodoo queen, unlike the voodoo doctor (male) was in charge of ceremonies and dances in the 1800s and held a powerful position in black, quadroon and white society because of her reputed ability to use the occult.

The profession of hairdresser gave both Marie Laveaus access to the private lives and secrets of the women's hair and dispensing ample advice. Some of the Laveau magic may have been common sense and homespun psychology. In time the name of Marie Laveau became distorted. Mothers threatened their children that she would put a curse on those who didn't behave.

She was thought of as an evil witch, capable of causing unimaginable trouble. But there are also reports of her as a nurse. Others mention that small children went to her home every Saturday morning for the brown sugar sticks she would hand out.

When Marie Laveau discontinued voodoo after the Civil War, Malvina Latour took over as New Orleans voodoo queen for another twenty years, but she never gained the notoriety of her predecessor. The cult began to disintegrate, and in the past ninety years there has been no acknowledged queen.

Whatever the truth may be about Marie Laveau, the concept remains of a strong, independent woman who earned the fear and respect of an entire city.

"Madaam Lavaeu's
resting place"


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