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WITCHY WOMAN: Visit the Marie Laveau House in New Orleans

Jazz music, Mardis Gras, and delicious food are classic characteristics of New Orleans. If you’ve experienced the standard tourist attractions and are brave enough, you might try visiting the Marie Laveau House. However, it’s not for everyone, and you might have difficulty sleeping after seeing it.

Today, we’re looking at Marie Laveau and why you should consider visiting her house on your next trip to the Big Easy.

Let’s dive in! 

Who Is Marie Laveau?

If you’re familiar with the history of Louisiana voodoo, Marie Laveau is a familiar name. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you likely have no idea who this Voodoo-practicing herbalist midwife is or what she did on the streets of New Orleans.

Due to her healing and herbalist practices, she became a dominating force in Voodoo culture and society in and around New Orleans. She earned the title Queen of Voodoo and was often the person people ran to for help with finances, family disputes, and health issues.

Marie Laveau was dedicated to her community and often visited prisons, helped women in the community, and performed rituals for those in need. Upon her death in June 1881, she was described as a “woman of great beauty, intellect, and charisma who was also pious, charitable, and a skilled herbal healer” by The New York Times, The New Orleans Daily Picayune, and many other news sources.

Exterior display at the Marie Laveau House
Get to the heart of Voodoo by visiting the Marie Laveau House.

Why Is Marie Laveau So Famous?

Marie Laveau helped expose uneducated people to a different side of Voodoo. Many thought of it as nothing more than sticking pins in dolls or black magic, but the New Orleans’ Black community saw Laveau as a healer and herbalist. She preserved African belief systems and held spiritual ceremonies for healing and faith.

She hosted many well-known lawyers, legislators, planters, and merchants in her home. Laveau often provided advice and opinions, helped the sick, and showed hospitality to anyone passing through the area. She did much of what the people hiding behind trees and spying on her religious ceremonies were encouraged to do on Sunday mornings.

While much of her reputation was due to her Voodoo ceremonies and religious beliefs, she was much more than that. She earned a reputation as a model citizen for treating yellow fever patients, helping women of color post bail, and praying with condemned prisoners during their final hours.

Pro Tip: Use our guide on How to Spend a Day in New Orleans, Louisiana when planning your trip.

Is Voodoo Still Practiced in Louisiana?

Louisiana is home to a somewhat active following of Voodooists. New Orleans is the capital city for many of Voodoo’s estimated 60 million practitioners. In the early 1900s, Voodoo in its purest form went underground and took a backseat to the commercialized version.

However, there are still active Voodoo practitioners in and around New Orleans.

There is only one established Voodoo temple in the city, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple. It sits across the street from Congo Square. There is no shortage of authentic and commercialized spots to purchase handmade Voodoo dolls, oils, herbs, and incense in New Orleans.

Exterior display at the Marie Laveau House
Marie Laveau used Voodoo magic to heal members of her community.

Visit Marie Laveau’s House

Marie Laveau’s house is at 1020 St. Ann St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. There’s some controversy around how Marie received the home. The legend involves Marie helping an affluent family deal with potential murder charges for their son.

She worked her Voodoo magic on the judge and prosecutor to support the family. As a result of the innocent verdict, the family purchased Marie a new home. However, the truth is more likely that Marie’s grandmother bought the house and passed it through the generations.

Developers tore down the original home of Marie Laveau to the foundation in 1903. They built the new home on the same foundation, which leads many to believe it still contains energies from Marie Laveau. The house has been a vacation rental at times, and several guests claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Laveau wearing a long white dress and a headdress. People have claimed to hear the sounds of chanting, drumming, and other paranormal activities within the confines of the home.

Several businesses offer ghost tours that include stops at Marie Laveau’s house. You can even visit Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo and pick up a Voodoo doll, blessed chicken feet, or a simple souvenir to remember your trip to New Orleans.

Voodoo doll in forest
Explore some haunted sites while visiting New Orleans.

If you enjoy haunted locations, you’ll love New Orleans. There are several spots around the city where paranormal activity frequently occurs. Let’s look at a few haunted sites in New Orleans!

1. Muriel’s Restaurant

Many, including some visitors of Muriel’s Restaurant, see New Orleans as a place of refuge for souls who have yet to cross over. These souls with unfinished business live and walk amongst the residents of New Orleans. Over the years, Muriel’s Restaurant and the surrounding area have been the subjects of many paranormal investigations.

Luckily, the ghosts at Muriel’s appear harmless and are often entertaining. Guests have never felt threatened by the spirits but have felt welcome. The restaurant even keeps a table in reserve for the ghost of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, who committed suicide on the second floor of the home he had lost in a poker game.

2. Faulkner House Books

In a house many know for literature, it’s hard to beat a good ghost story. This charming book house offers a wide selection of books and novels worldwide. However, Faulkner House Books is home to more than just a wealth of stories. Many visitors claim to have experienced paranormal activity inside the bookstore.

Some guests say they have seen the ghost of William Faulkner sitting at his writing desk in the store. There’s also often the aroma and appearance of pipe smoke wafting through the bookstore, as Faulkner enjoyed smoking a pipe while writing. If you’re in New Orleans and looking for a good book, or if you’re into paranormal activity, stop and see if you have an encounter with the ghost of Faulkner.

3. St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The cathedral played a significant role in history and has a lasting presence in the community. The cathedral is home to some of the most prominent figures from the earliest days of New Orleans, which is why many believe it to be extremely haunted.

Pere Antoine is one of the many ghosts people believe may call St. Louis Cathedral home. He was a pastor of the cathedral in 1774. He showed kindness and generosity to the people of New Orleans until he died in 1829. Guests frequently encounter the ghost of Antoine, but appearances tend to be more frequent during the holidays.

This is a popular stop for many ghost tours in the city. These tours can give you a more in-depth look at the St. Louis Cathedral. However, you don’t have to go on a tour to experience the beauty of this unique piece of architecture in New Orleans.

Pro Tip: Spend the night in one of these 7 Best New Orleans RV Parks when traveling in the Big Easy.

Enjoy the Spooky Side of the Big Easy

With exciting nightlife, delicious food, and culture, New Orleans is an excellent spot to visit. You can spend several days or weeks in the city and still not experience everything it offers, especially if you take a trip on the spooky side. Enjoy this historic and unique city by broadening your horizons and trying something new. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get outside your comfort zone. Get out there and make some memories in the Big Easy!

What are some of your favorite haunted places you’ve seen on your adventures? Let us know in the comments!

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