Marie Laveau (1794–1881) was a Louisiana Creole: descended from the colonial white settlers, black slaves and free people of color of southern Louisiana. For several decades this ‘Voodoo Queen’ held New Orleans spellbound. She staged ceremonies in which participants became possessed by loas (Voodoo spirits); she dispensed charms and potions, even saving several condemned men from the gallows; told fortunes and healed the sick.
She became a hairdresser to create economic stability for herself and her family. Through interaction with her Black clients who were house servants, she was exposed to personal information about her wealthy White clients, who often sought her counsel. Laveau used this information to give informed counsel to the people who sought advice from her concerning their personal affairs. Many wealthy and politically affluent individuals, both White and Black, paid Laveau for personal advice, intervention in some situations, and protection against any evil energy that might have been placed against them.
She allegedly lived at 1020 St. Ann Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The original home was demolished in 1903, but the new home was built on the original foundation. The location is registered as a historical landmark.
Interested in other locations you can visit where famous witches lived or were accused? Check out Owlocation’s 6 Real Witches’ Houses and Cottages You Can Visit.
The meaning of this painting was felt generally to be obscure and the story as related by Millais’s son J.G. Millais, locates the scene in Ancient Rome: ‘It is that of a young Roman who has been reading through the night the letters of his lost love; and at dawn, behold, the curtains of his bed are parted, and there before him stands, in spirit or in truth, the lady herself, decked as on her bridal night, and gazing upon him with sad but loving eyes’ (Millais, II, p.304). The critic of the Art Journal described “Speak! Speak!” as ‘a powerful canvas, broadly handled and eloquently telling its tale’ (Art Journal, 1895, pp.164-6). In fact, the identity of the female figure at the foot of the bed caused some consternation, an effect which Millais had fully intended, as Millais’s biographer M.H. Spielmann recorded: ‘When I remarked that I could not tell whether the luminous apparition was a spirit or a woman he was pleased: “That’s just what I want”, he said; “I don’t know either, nor”, he added, pointing to the picture, “does he” ‘ (quoted in Flint, p.261).
Painting and background information from the Tate gallery, UK.
Did you know that there are many connections to executive producer Steven Spielberg’s popular movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) in Gremlins?
One of the Gremlins says “phone home,” there is a stuffed E.T., and, at the beginning, one of the movies on the marquee is “A Boy’s Life,” which was the fake name under which E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was shipped to theaters.
More facts about Gremlins at IMDb Trivia: Gremlins (1984).