Mysterious Marie Laveau
This woman was awesome. Set aside the VooDoo HooDoo Stuff. She was a strong woman that has some surprising things about her life.
Introduction and History
Almost nothing written or recorded about Marie Laveau can be cited as fact. Everything that is known about her comes from local legend, hearsay and oral tradition. But not a child grew up in New Orleans without knowing and fearing the great Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.
It is accepted that she was born in 1794 in Vieux Carre. Her father, Charles Laveau, is said to have been a wealthy white planter and her mother, Darcantel Marguerite, a mulatto with a strain of Indian blood. Marie herself is described as being mulatto, quadroon, and sometimes just as "yellow". She was a tall statuesque woman, with "curling black hair, 'good' features, dark skin that had a distinct reddish cast, and fierce black eyes."  She married Jacques Paris, a free man of color, on August 4, 1819. Because the ceremony was performed in St. Louis Cathedral, her contract of marriage can still be found in the files there. At the time of her marriage, there is no evidence that either she or Jacques were practicing Voodoo. Marie and Jacques had both been raised Roman Catholic and she still practiced it devoutly, attending a daily worship at St. Louis Cathedral. Only a short while after the wedding, Jacques disappeared and Marie began calling herself the Widow Paris. A record of his death did not appear until several years after he had been gone.
It was after the strange death of Jacques that Marie became a professional hairdresser and began visiting the homes of wealthy white women. This is probably how Marie got her start in practicing Voodoo. Women historically have confided things to their hairdressers that they normally would not tell a soul. "All the family skeletons must have come out to dance for Marie."  And Marie, being the shrewd businesswoman that she was, started cashing in on these secrets.
While she was working as a hairdresser, Marie became involved with Louis Christophe Duminy de Glapion. Just a few years after becoming a widow, Glapion moved into her home and lived there until he died in 1835. All that is known of Glapion and his relationship with Marie is that he was a quadroon from Santo Domingo who had fought in the Battle of New Orleans and that he and Marie had fifteen children.
Marie became the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans sometime during the 1830's. (For more information of the religion of Voodoo see the Related Pages). The behavior and style by which she ruled is largely debated. What is known about her at this time is mostly passed down orally. All this will be discussed in Legends and Speculations.