Monday, October 12, 2015


There's European Witchery which usually involves sleeping with the devil and flying around on broomsticks and then there's the sort that has it's roots firmly planted in the Dark Continent.  And for that kind of mojo, you usually see Voodoo Dolls and the like.  And the one "witch" most known for that is Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans...

Marie Catherine Laveau was born a free woman of color and a Creole in Louisiana on Thursday, September 10, 1801, the state where the Voodoo dolls were made famous.  The natural daughter of two free persons of color, both biracial, one of whom was Creole.  Laveau would go on to marry Jacques Paris, a Haitian emigrant of color.  He died a short year later.

Laveau was a Voodoo practitioner, and became the very icon of the practice, known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. According to folklore, she was a beautiful and wise woman who could easily intimidate anyone, even the police. She practiced medicine, built up a huge following among whites and blacks, and even world leaders came to her seeking advice. She was greatly talented in performing Voodoo rituals and held the rank of Supreme Witch. She performed necromancy, mind control, telekinesis, and pinning, and had thousands of adepts. During a ceremony she held in 1874 on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, 12,000 participants attended the event on St. John’s Eve. She died peacefully in her home in 1881.

Only little evidence suggests her having any occupation other than Voodoo Priestess and that was as a liquor importer on Dauphine Street in the Faubourg Marigny in New Orleans.  Lore suggests that at one time she also became a hairdresser to high standing locals and used this to gain profitable information.  Her lover, Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion, with whom she supposedly had 15 children, including Marie Laveau II, lived with her until his death in 1835.

Of Laveau’s career as a magician, little can be proven.  It is unproven if she had a snake named Zombi after an African god or if she used Roman Catholic saints in coordination with African spirits in her rites, or whether her divinations were made using information gathered by a network of workers who informed on their white households.

Her daughter, Marie Laveau II, also practiced Voodoo, as well as Haitian Voudou.  Scholars believe her mother was more powerful while the daughter was better at arranging elaborate public events.  Laveau II is believed to have had three children whom she sent to the Dominican Republic after threats were made to burn them alive.  Marie’s husband, Jose Huerta, raised them on his own to keep the voodoo tradition in his family.  The family survives to this day in the Gauthier and Quebedeaux lines, both of whom still practice vodoun, but have not been given high titles by the International Voodoo Society.

In honor of Ms. Laveau and her daughter we have not one, but two songs that pay tribute to the old Witch Queen herself (well, kinda)!

First up is the Native American rock band Redbone with their hit tune...
"Witch Queen of New Orleans"

Country artist Bobby Bare recorded this #1 hit song live in 1974 and it's called 
"Marie Laveau"

Now the original recording of this song is by a true swamp rock band called Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and this is the version one should take as the definitive version
(And they add in an "x")
"Marie Laveaux"

But what I REALLY love is their acoustic version--now the sound isn't as good, but boy do they put on a proper show--lookie here:

Goodnight, y'all--now stay out'en the bayou fo yo own good!


Guillaume said...

I vaguely remember the name. From the Atmosfear game, maybe?

Gary Lee said...

Maybe, I'm not sure.