By far the most well-known and popular true American voodoo legend that is still told today is the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau. Born free in the French Quarter of New Orleans on September 10, 1794, she was the daughter of two free persons of color, both biracial, one of whom was Creole. Despite the fact that she was into some hardcore voodoo, she was a devote catholic because of her religious upbringings, but that didn’t stop her from ruling the voodoo-world. Voodoo is defined as a polytheistic religion practiced chiefly by West Indians, deriving principally from African cult worship and containing elements borrowed from the Catholic religion, so it’s no wonder why it became quite popular in America.
Voodoo was first used in America by the slave girl Tituba (a witch who was accused of sorcery during the Salem Witch Trials), who was reported to have given the power to all the witches of Salem. As a West African religion, it spread to the Caribbean by the slave trade and is still practiced in the world today, particularly a major religion in both Haiti and Louisiana. During the 19th century, Voodoo Queens became central figures to Voodoo in the United States. Voodoo Queens controlled many of the ceremonial meetings and ritual dances, they also earned an income by administrating charms, amulets, and magical powders guaranteed to cure ailments, grant desires, and confound or destroy one’s enemies. Marie Laveau was said to have the powers of necromancy, transmutation, telekinesis, healing, pinning, mind control, and an incomparable war cry.
She was sought out by many for advice, healing, and power; but she only helped those who she deemed deserving. All others were either cast away, or in some cases, destroyed. Being a queen wasn’t her primary career, she actually worked at and owned her own hairdressing shop with the help of her slaves. That’s right, despite the fact that she was black she owned her own slaves, New Orleans had some really complicated social strata back then, and Marie Laveau was a prime example. In 1819, at the ripe young age of 18, Laveau married Jacques Paris, with whom she had two children, both of which are believed to have died young. Her husband also passed away under mysterious circumstances…
Later Laveau entered into a common-law marriage with Louis Christophe Dominick and they had seven children together. In all, it’s believed Marie gave birth to 15 children, only one of which who lived to adulthood, her daughter Marie Laveau II. After her mother retired due to old age, Marie Laveau II picked up the mantle her mother left behind, but she was nowhere near as powerful nor as popular. It’s believed that she drowned in Lake Pontchartrain when a ritual went wrong, she was still quite young. Marie Laveau died in 1881, and is said to be buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, in the tomb of her husband’s family, the Glapions. Today Marie Laveau remains famous in New Orleans, due to the rumor that Laveau will grant your wishes beyond the grave if you draw an “X” on her tomb, turn around three times, knock on the tomb, and yell out your wish. If your wish is granted, you are required to come back, circle your “X”, and leave Laveau an offering, otherwise your wish will turn into a curse. Marie Laveau is brought back to life in American Horror Story: Coven.Her character is portrayed by Angela Bassett, and she does and amazing job of intimidating both the characters and the audience alike with her merciless, unrelenting wrath, much like how the real Voodoo Queen ruled her domain.