September 12

Marie Laveau’s Family Ties

MarieLaveauTitleI’m working on a Hubpage about Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, and having a surprisingly hard time with it. I know I need to tell the story of her legend- that’s what people want to hear, particularly with her playing a major part in this season’s American Horror Story, currently filming in New Orleans.

There are so few actual facts and so many stories that honestly seem like somebody said “let’s see if we can get ‘em to buy this one!” It’s depressing, especially since reading Carolyn Morrow Long’s book on Marie- the only fully researched book I’ve found, full of contextual information that really provides a historical perspective.

Still, I spent days banging my head on the desk, trying to untangle how to make the various stories about her (pretty much none of which were true) into a coherent story and failing until a friend kicked my butt. Once I stopped trying to make a coherent tale of the mess, it came together quickly.

So far, it’s been well  received, despite being a bit of a voodoo buzzkill. On the other hand, I finally went to the neighborhood hoodoo shop and will get to tell a broader story about New Orleans’ tangled history with the beliefs.

There were lots of interesting things in the newspaper archives, many of which were eyeroll-inducing, including a rather snotty article from 1922 called “Marie Laveau, Long High Priestess of Voudooism in New Orleans. Some Hitherto Unpublished stories of ‘Voudou Queen.’”

Carolyn Morrow Long refers to this piece in her book saying they were ‘hitherto unpublished’ because he’d just made them up. I choked I was laughing so hard, and if I hadn’t loved her book before then, I sure did afterward!

unpublished

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September 3

Nailed it?

First off, I need to point out that I can bake- and I mean from scratch. Need a cake? Brownies? Cookies or cupcakes? I got that. And my rum balls will put you right on your butt.

Based on that experience, I decided to take on one of the Squidoo challenges- to make a lens on Halloween cupcakes. Starting with the assumption that most people were going to  focus on the decorations, I went a different way: I’d make the centerpiece of the project a game.

Off I went to the craft store to get little trinkets to put inside the cupcakes, and figured on making each like a door prize. If you got an eyeball, you’d get  toy#1, a bat would get toy#2, etc.

Even as I started to try to pull things together, Bianca knew that this was not going to end well:

 

Bianca

Give it up, you sad, sad human.

   I’ll admit that  I went overboard – surprise! Michaels is a dangerous place. I even bought a mold to make skeleton body parts and filled them with the green and orange chocolate (front and center of the photo). Did I mention I’d never worked with that stuff before? Yeah. Harder than it looks.

setting up

All photogenic and ready to be included in a triumphant lens!

I cheated and used a box mix so I could focus on the ‘fun’ stuff. Got fancy, divided it up into batches and used food dye in Halloween-y colors, and based on my Pinterest research decided to use ice cream cones instead of standard paper cups. After wrapping the toys in mini baking cups and carefully pushing them to the bottom of the cones I was ready to fill ‘em up and go!

  They looked a little different coming out of the oven than they did going in:mess

Let us count the ways that this went wrong. First off, the orange batter cooked up brown, so the cones with the overflowing brown looks like…well…like it needed a plunger. The cones sort of melted under the lava-like heat of cake batter, collapsing in, and forming those lovely goiter-like protrusions. Oh, and the batter just oozed inside the toys, rendering them revolting.

I was ready to throw in the towel when a friend pointed out that “anything can be fixed with frosting!” Yup!

NailedIt