New Orleans: Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo

Voodoo, which can be generally understood as a spiritual system based on God, ancestors and spirits, within which these forces interact with humans in all matters of fate and fortune, was originally brought to New Orleans directly from Africa. A popular figure in American folklore and likely the most well known Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau, is believed to have been born in Louisiana in 1794. With little known about her actual life, Marie Laveau’s legend continued to grow and it was believed that through readings, rituals and spells she could heal the sick or give one the power to regain a lover or destroy an enemy. The site of the Voodoo store is allegedly the site where Laveau’s daughter of the same name actually once lived. Both a shrine to the Voodoo Queen and a full service shop, the offerings range from traditional gris-gris bags, tarot cards, voodoo dolls to ritual masks and ceremonial sage smudge sticks.

Marie Laveau was believe to have died in 1881, although her ghost was rumored to still be seen around the city long after her death.  Allegedy, she was buried in the Glapion family crypt in Saint Louis cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans. The marker on the crypt reads “This Greek revival tomb is reputed burial place  of this notorious ‘Voodoo Queen.’ A mystic cult, voodooism, of African origin, was brought to this city from Santo Domingo and flourished in the 19th century. Marie Laveau was the most widely known of many practitioners of the cult.” As big of an attraction as the voodoo shop, her tomb continues to draw large numbers of visitors, who will (illegally) mark three crosses, “XXX,” on its side, in the hopes that Ms. Laveau’s spirit will grant them a wish.

739 Bourbon St. at St. Ann

New Orleans