Marie Laveau was a renowned herbalist, midwife, and voodoo practitioner in New Orleans. It didn’t take her long to dominate the local voodoo culture and society, establishing herself as the Queen of Voodoo. Laveau performed her services in three places (her home, within Go Square, and at Lake Pontchartrain), and people approached her for help with family disputes, health, finances, and more. Just like in American Horror Story: Coven, Laveau had her own beauty parlor where she worked as a hairdresser for the wealthy in New Orleans. In addition to her services as Queen of Voodoo and hairdresser, Laveau was known for her community activities, such as visiting prisoners, providing lessons to women of the community, and doing rituals for those in need. Laveau passed away in 1881, and it’s unclear where she was buried.
Laveau’s story and legacy are surrounded by legend and lore given her influence in the voodoo community and impact on New Orleans’ society, to the point where, for years, tourists visited her supposed resting place and drew X marks in accordance with an old tradition that said Laveau would grant them a wish if they drew an X on the tomb, turned around three times, knocked on the tomb, and yelled out their wish – and if it was granted, they had to come back, circle their X, and leave her an offering. Although there are no records of Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie knowing each other, it’s likely they did as they lived in New Orleans at the same time and it was a small community. Unlike American Horror Story: Coven’s version of Marie Laveau, the real one was actually an ally rather than a threat, and she left a big mark on her community.