Historians Reveal The Real Story of Marie Laveau, New Orleans’ Notorious Voodoo Priestess

In a crumbling cemetery in New Orleans, a crypt is said to hold the remains of one of the city’s most legendary occultists: Marie Laveau. And even centuries after her death, she has quite the following. Many curious travelers wander through the maze of dilapidated tombs in search of her final resting place. A layer of sea shells litter portions of the walkways, crunching under visitors’ feet as they wend their way toward what’s believed to be the fabled tomb of New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen.

A cemetery mystery

On that note, there’s some confusion surrounding which tomb actually holds Laveau’s remains. However, one in particular has been marked as a prime location for communing with the conjuror. Yes, despite the fact that NOLA.com claimed in 2018 that Laveau was interred in her long-time lover’s family crypt, people often frequent another grave to pay their respects to the Voodoo Queen.

Miniature tributes

This tomb – which NOLA.com dubbed a “faux Laveau” – is riddled with marks left by strangers who were doubtless keen to contact her. Rows of the letter “x” are etched into the ivory-colored plaster, scratched in hues of red and black. A green rosary hangs next to the mausoleum’s door. Half-spent candles, bouquets of lurid blooms, bottles of alcohol, and other paraphernalia cover the floor – all left as gifts to the Voodoo Queen.

Paranormal powers

You see, rumor has it that Laveau’s supposed mystical powers have extended beyond the grave. And some say, in fact, that her spirit can still make a person’s greatest desire come true if they leave her a gift. By inscribing the letter “x” three times on the wall of the tomb, people claim that the Voodoo Queen can also be persuaded to fulfill a wish. But who exactly was this woman who still inspires such devotion centuries after her death?

Historical blind spots

Little is known for certain about the enigmatic figure. Much of Laveau’s life remains shrouded in mystery, but a number of fantastical legends have sprung up around her. And perhaps because of the abundance of folklore concerning the Voodoo Queen’s powers, she has been immortalized in popular culture over the decades.