The Great Mam'zelle Marie Laveau was believed to have been born in New Orleans in 1794 - she died on June 15th, 1881. A free woman of color, as well as a quadroon (African, Indian, French and Spanish), she became the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queen in the world - so powerful that, by the 1830's, she was widely known as the Pope of Voodoo. Marie was a hairdresser by trade, privy to the secrets of the wealthiest New Orleanians. She was also a selfless nurse who ministered to those stricken with yellow fever during the epidemic. Due to the fact that she was a devout Catholic who attended mass every day, Marie gained the respect of the Priests & received permission to perform her Voodoo rituals right behind St. Louis Cathedral! It's clear that throughout her very long and colorful life, she wore many hats, which gained her the love, respect and in some cases, the fear, of the masses.
It is undoubtedly her role as Voodoo Priestess which brought the Great Mam'zelle the most fame during her life and which, to this day, brings people from all over the world to ask for special favors at her tomb in St. Louis #1 Cemetery (Basin Street). Marie Laveau's tomb is frequently covered with rosaries, flowers, coins, and various other offerings. Tourists and curiosity seekers aren't alone at the Great Marie's tomb. Authentic Voodoo practitioners still perform rituals there to pay respect to their most beloved Ancestor & patron.