Marie Laveau (1794? - June 16, 1881?) was an American practitioner of voodoo.
For such an important figure in American folklore, very little can be known certainly about her life. She is supposed to have been born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1794, the daughter of a white planter and a black woman. She married Jacques Paris, a free Black, on August 4, 1819; her marriage certificate is preserved in Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
M. Paris died in 1820 under unexplained circumstances; after his death, Marie Laveau became a hairdresser who catered to wealthy white families. She took a lover, Louis Christophe Duminy de Glapion, with whom she lived until his death in 1835.
Of her magical career, little definite can be said. She is said to have had a snake called Zombi. Oral traditions suggest that the occult part of her magic mixed Roman Catholic beliefs and saints with African spirits and religious concepts. It is also alleged that her feared magical powers came in fact from a network of informants in the households of the prominent that she developed while a hairdresser.
On June 16, 1881, the New Orleans newspapers announced that Marie Laveau had died. This is noteworthy if only because she continued to be seen in the town after her supposed demise. It is claimed that one of her daughters by M. Glapion assumed her name and carried on her magical practice after her death.
She is buried in Saint Louis Cemetery in New Orleans, in the Glapion family crypt. The tomb continues to attract visitors who draw three crosses (XXX) on its side, hoping that her spirit will grant them a wish.