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BIOGRAPHY

There is little that is known definitively about Marie Laveau, the legendary Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She is thought to have been born in either New Orleans or Saint Domingue. She was supposedly the daughter of Charles Laveau, a wealthy white planter, and Darcantel Marguerite, a slave. Either way she spent most of her life in New Orleans. Laveau was a free woman of color with African, Indian, French, and Spanish blood. She is the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queen in the world. In fact, she named herself the "Pope of Voodoo." She was highly respected and equally feared. She was feared by the Catholic Church and the St. Louis Cathedral, where she attended mass every day.

Laveau began her career in New Orleans as a hairdresser, visiting the homes of wealthy white women. She soon became the first commercial Voodoo Queen and thrived financially as a result. Through her successful efforts to free a customer's son from a murder charge, she acquired the house of Rue Ste. Anne, where she lived the rest of her life. She married her first husband, Jacques Paris, in 1819, but he disappeared mysteriously soon after their marriage. Although there is no record of his death until five or six years later, Laveau immediately started calling herself the "Widow Paris." Cpt. Christophe Clapion moved into her house a few years later, and she had fifteen children by him. One of her daughters, Marie Philomene Laveau Clapion, became almost as powerful as her mother as a Voodoo Princess.

Laveau's grave in New Orleans is visited daily by curiosity seekers and true believers of voodoo. Legend has it that you should place the side of your right foot against the bottom of her tomb, make three "X" marks with red brick found nearby, place your hand over the marks, close your eyes, and rub your foot against the tomb three times. Apparently, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans still grants wishes.

CHRONOLOGY

c1794 She was born in either New Orleans or Saint Domingue.

1809 Some say she arrived in New Orleans after a slave revolt in Saint Domingue.

1819 She married Jacques Paris. (August 4)

1826 Jacques Paris' death is recorded.

c1830 She became the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.

1835 Louis Christophe Duminy de Glapion died in their home.

1881 She died in New Orleans. (June 15)