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Hardcover Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau Book

ISBN: 1578066298

ISBN13: 9781578066292

Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau

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Book Overview

Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit the celebrated New Orleans tomb where Marie Laveau is said to lie. They seek her favors or fear her lingering influence. Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

If only the records were accurate

This was interesting, but the admission by the author in the beginning about not much was TRULY known about the Laveau's didn't spark much enthusiasm. I love anything related to my home state & the supernatural, so I pressed on. Keeping up was a little difficult because Marie was the name of about 3 or 4 women in that family. It was still a good read, but would've liked more concrete evidence of what really went down.

Voodoo Fact and Voodoo Legend

One of the famous above-ground cemeteries of New Orleans is known as St. Louis No. 1, the oldest graveyard in the city. A tall marble and stucco tomb there is a site where devotees frequently leave gifts - flowers, candy, salt, coins, beads, bourbon - for Marie Laveau, the famous voodoo priestess. She still attracts attention, and some people still talk to her. One of these is Martha Ward, an anthropologist at the University of New Orleans, who has written _Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau_ (University Press of Mississippi). It is a book from a strange sort of participatory journalism; the author says she has "relied on dreams, intuition, a hyperactive imagination, and funky Voodoo luck." She admits to standing in front of the tomb and hearing Marie laugh when asked "What really happened?" Marie's answer: "Who knows the whole story, and maybe it's better that way." There is such a gumbo of legend and fact here, along with earnest attempts to clear up history and legal agreements that were deliberately made murky in the first place, that calling upon voodoo as a reference source isn't as dicey as it might seem. Ward is a competent guide through confusing social customs of strange times in a strange locale, and she interprets the gaps as carefully as possible. "There's hardly any peg in this whole narrative that's literal, truthful or absolute," she warns, but there is plenty of good storytelling and historical recreations of New Orleans nonetheless. Marie Laveau was born in 1801 to an unmarried "free woman of color." She grew up in religious training around the famous St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. Such Christian learning did not limit Marie to being Christian; one of the themes repeatedly emphasized here is that voodoo was not in opposition to any traditional Christian spirituality, but an addition to it. There are plenty of examples, for instance, of official or folklore saints being incorporated into voodoo. Marie formed a strong partnership with a controversial priest, Pere Antoine. Ward says that Marie guaranteed to Antoine the support from her followers and a church full of them, and in return he would perform sacraments of baptism and marriage for interracial couples who otherwise could claim no legitimacy. Ward concludes that after Pere Antoine's death, the church joined in with the proslavery religious orthodoxy of the times, and that her daughter (also Marie Laveau) made voodoo an alternative for those Pere Antoine could no longer welcome. She took her herbal and voodoo arts to new spheres in her occupation as hairdresser to upper-class white women. She also helped slaves escape. She was famous for her dancing, luridly described by eager reporters, which might involve different states of nudity, on the part of all races, with the movements being called by Marie herself. Marie would have such dances in her own back yard in her New Orleans house on Friday nights, followed by a voodoo benedicti

Fantastic for history buffs and spiritualists alike!

I bought this book on a trip to New Orleans, at the advice of a Voodoo Goddess named Anna, who owns a wonderful shop in the French Quarter. This book is wonderful!!!!! It provides the reader with colorful imagery that teaches not only about Voodoo, but also the history of New Orleans. It debunks myths about the TWO Marie Laveaus....and provides the most solid research of these two women to date! I reccommend this book to anyone remotely curious in Southern Style Voodoo/Hoodoo, New Orleans culture or history, and just something different!

The only real book on Marie Laveau

This book paints a beautiful portrait of New Orleans in the 19th centurery and the free people of color who lived and worshiped here. It shows the Marie Laveaus not only as powerful spiritual leaders (which the were) but as activist women, surviving in an almost impossible time. Heck, this book even explains why the Saints (New Orleans football team of sorts) always do so badly. If you have any interest in New Orleans history, this book is a must read!

Wow what a fascinating read

I admit the last time I had even a passing curiosity in the subject of voodoo was when some Ivy League graduate was on the Phil Donahue show back in the early 1980's. And the only reason the book peaked my interest was because of its interweaving of Catholicism, because of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau who was also a 'practicing' Catholic. The churches toleration of pagan or non-Christian practices, in mostly third world countries is something equally fascinating. New Orleans has such an eccentric, eclectic and exotic history when it comes to its cultural roots, which makes this book a fascinating read.

Review from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, March 28, 2004

On June 21, 1874, reporters at the New Orleans Times unexpectedly received an invitation to attend the annual St. John's Eve voodoo celebration on the lakefront. That the invitation was from the famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, came as quite a shock. White newspapermen in the city had long been critical both of Laveau and her religion. They could not, however, pass up an opportunity to attend the mysterious event. As the reporters boarded the Lake Pontchartrain Railroad bound for Milneburg two nights later, they expected to witness a wild ceremony complete with snake dancing, animal sacrifices, and scantily clad women. When they arrived, however, Laveau and her followers were nowhere to be found and the reporters soon realized that they had been duped. The invitation was a hoax. The fooled reporters were not the first individuals to be thwarted in their efforts to find Marie Laveau, nor would they be the last. The Marie Laveau the reporters set out to find was actually Marie Laveau the Second. Her mother, Marie the First, was the original Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Both women were elusive figures during their lifetimes, and each became even more mystifying in death. For over a century, historians, folklorists, theologians, and writers have pilgrimaged to New Orleans with hopes of learning the true story of the two Voodoo queens. The anthropologist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston found mixed success during the 1920s. During the Great Depression, the Federal Writer's Project employed an entire team of interviewers to press elderly New Orleanians for any information about the Laveaus. In recent decades, scores of articles, theses and dissertations, have been written about the fabled mother and daughter priestesses. Despite such efforts, the Laveau women's history remained shrouded by conflicting and often apocryphal legends, facts, and details. Martha Ward's Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau will change that. Ward (a professor of Anthropology, Urban Studies, and Women's Studies at the University of New Orleans) has meticulously combed through baptismal and notarial records, court documents, and other concrete evidence of the Laveaus' lives. With a critical eye, Ward incorporates the fascinating legends and rich folklore that surround the Voodoo queens, sifting out those that contradict historical facts. And she places the Laveaus within the context of their times. Dismissing the pejorative rantings of nineteenth century newspaper editors who, like many in the white establishment, found the Laveaus threatening, Ward portrays the Leveaus as influential leaders in the Creole community who resisted the Americanization of New Orleans. In Ward's skilled hands, the Laveaus are restored to their rightful place as important historical actors. Many readers may be surprised to learn, for instance, that Marie the First shared a remarkable working relationship with Père Antoine, the Pastor of St. Louis Cathedral. Laveau w
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