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Marie Laveaux: The Vodou Priestess Who Kept New Orleans Under Her Spell

There is a painting from 1920 of New Orleans Vodou priestess Marie Laveaux. The solemn woman in the portrait gazes, almost mournfully, at us with just a hint of the power and mayhem that resided behind those eyes. It was in 1830s New Orleans that Marie Laveaux emerged as a prominent spiritualist and healer. She held court in her home, at African-American ritual dances on Sundays in New Orleans’ Congo Square (pdf) and at major religious festivals, such as the midsummer St.
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