Marie Laveau was born in 1801, in colonial Louisiana. She was a well known practitioner of Voodoo and she worked as a midwife. Born a free woman of color, she had several children, but only two of them survived into adulthood. She married a man called Jaques Paris, who later died, leaving her a widow. She remarried and starting working as a hairdresser, where she would offer advice to her clients who were dealing issues at home. She became their confidant, helping to bolster her reputation.
Marie was respected in her community for her healing and spiritual work, but myth mixes with fact as certain records were lost or missing on her. We know she used charms and powders to help cure ailments.
She has inspired many works and characters in TV shows about her, including American Horror Story, although these characters are wildly exaggerated versions of her.
She died peacefully in her home in 1881. Tourists still visit her tomb today, leaving offerings to her.
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S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
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