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Mambo Marie Laveau

The notorious voudou queen of new orleans

Marie Laveau is no myth; she is no mere legend. In reality, she was a free woman of colour who ruled the city during antebellum New Orleans. This was no mean feat! She was a devout Catholic, an independent businesswoman, a mother, and healer who lived her life in accordance with the corporal works of mercy. Stories abound about her magickal prowess, freeing men from the gallows and healing the sick from the brink of death. Her belief in Catholicism guided her life as well as her magick in such a distinct way that people from all over the world are inspired by her spirit and her story.

The most storied woman in the history of New Orleans has been portrayed in pop culture as a powerful sorceress with great magickal powers and knowledge of arcane lore. One of my favourite portrayal is by Angela Bassett in American Horror Stories.

In the following video, I showcase two animated versions of my digital portrait of Laveau using Kaiber - as a tribute to the magnificent Mambo.

Laveau left a very specific legacy in her magick and spirituality. Yes, she has achieved rock star status in death, in as much as a Voudou Queen can achieve but if we take a closer look at her life, she seemed to be more concerned with serving the people in her community than seeking recognition or fame. Evidence of her spiritual legacy can be seen in untold accounts written over the years of root doctors claiming to be her descendants, relatives, or apprentices. They each profess unequivocally that the Hoodoo they do was the Voudou she did.

Laveau's legend is "kept alive by twentieth-century conjurers who claimed to use Laveau techniques, and it is kept alive through the continuing practice of commercialised voodoo in New Orleans" (Salzman, Smith, and West 1996).

The mysteries of Laveau's life and religion are encoded in her magick. Her legacy is embedded in the same rituals that have been passed down throughout the years since her death by practitioners of New Orleans Voudou or a specific form of it called Laveau Voudou - a fresh presentation of her work. As such, the spiritual legacy of Marie Laveau is in the memory of her great name and in the inheritance of a powerful, unique magicospiritual tradition that largely defines Voudou in Louisiana today.


Reference: Work by Denise Alvarado

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