Saturday, March 7, 2015

The International Shrine of Marie Laveau

While the legend and myth of the Vodou Queen is impressive, Marie Laveau the woman was even more remarkable than the stories that surround her.  The undisputed Vodou Queen of New Orleans in the first half of the 1800s, she was also a devout Catholic, an advocate for women and African American families, and a figure of extraordinary social authority, in a time when women of color had no power at all.  Marie used her sharp wit to ensure a future for her children and others like them, and to help free slaves.  She fostered an incredible sense of community among slaves and free people of color that continued for decades. In response to the vandalism at the famous Laveau Tomb in St Louis Cemetery I, visiting hours have been reduced and visitors will soon be able to enter the cemetery only with a licensed tour guide. The statue of Marie Laveau in the New Orleans Healing Center (a gift from talented local artist Ricardo Pustanio) very quickly became something of a replacement, with visitors leaving flowers and and lighting candles.  In order to build upon this start, the New Orleans Healing Center is establishing a public shrine to Marie Laveau, which will be open to tourists and locals alike, so that they may leave offerings, ask for blessings and leave the traditional ‘X’ markings on the shrine. More >>