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.
Learn more about the life and times of Marie Laveau at History of American Women and Britannica.com.
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.