Marie Laveau: Voodoo, Race and Female Power

A R T L▼R K

51AT2l9o2eLOn the 16th of June 1881, Marie Laveau, Louisiana Creole ‘princess’ of Voodoo, died in New Orleans, Louisiana, aged 79. “A nineteenth-century free woman of color, she is a founding figure of the African-American voodoo tradition. Little is known about Marie Laveau and her introduction to voodoo. Originally a devout Catholic, she “miraculously” transformed herself into a theatrical and flamboyant spiritual leader of the black community while still a young adult in 1830. Her presumed abilities as seer, spell weaver, and voodoo priestess made Laveau one of the most influential and politically powerful members of a racist and sexist New Orleans society. Today, New Orleans honors her each year during Mardi Gras and maintains her grave as a historical site. In popular legend, Laveau is still alive and conjuring in the city.” (Feminist Studies, Vol. 16, No. 2, Speaking for Others/Speaking for Self: Women of Color ,Summer, 1990).

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