Marie Laveau’s presence is markedly visible and energetically palpable to anyone visiting the French Quarter. Shops are named for her, products are crafted bearing her name, ghost tours exist of the Marie Laveau house and gravesite, and practitioners take on her last name for themselves, despite lacking biological ties to her. There are numerous books and spellbooks written about Marie Laveau, both fictional and historical. Fact and myth are conflated as marketers and merchants seek the best Laveau legends to tell, all in an effort to boost sales and perpetuate her exotic mystique. Much to the chagrin of Christian adversaries, her name alone drives much of New Orleans’ tourist industry. Her reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as her overall business acumen served to fuel a niche market for herbalists, diviners, ritual performers, and hoodoos that didn’t exist before. This hybrid commercial/spiritual space did not come without a price, though. She was routinely harassed by the local police, even as she kept them at bay with just the mere threat of her conjure. Journalists often mocked the Voudous in local newspapers with the most salacious stories going viral the old-fashioned way by being reprinted in newspapers around the nation. Stories of her prison ministry also made headlines. Even as she excelled at navigating an oppressive, racist society, she walked with grace with the Christians as easily as she danced with Li Grand Zombi, the sacred serpent.
-Excerpt from The Magic of Marie Laveau: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans
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