September 12, 2013

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 Some Hitherto Unpublished stories of ‘Voudou Queen.'”

Carolyn Morrow Long refers to this piece in her book saying they were ‘hitherto unpublished’ because he’d just made them up.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!


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