Separate the legend and reality of Marie Laveau, Wednesday at NSU


Explore the verifiable facts from semi-truths and complete fabrications surrounding the famous Voudou Priestess Marie Laveau with the author of “A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau” Carolyn Morrow Long Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom on NSU Campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Long will speak about how she navigated the many legends surrounding Laveau to piece together her real story. Stay after the lecture to get your signed copy of her book and a chance to meet Long.

“We are very excited to host Long as she shares the fascinating history of one of Louisiana’s most legendary figures,” said Student Government Association Advisor Shayne Creppel. “It allows our students to learn from a very skilled researcher and will hopefully inspire some of them to apply her methods to their own academic interests while learning about someone who has intrigued people for going on two centuries.”
Tales depict Laveau as a mysterious and astonishing celebrity of old New Orleans whose magical allure attracted many followers ranging from slaves to upper-class whites. Often depicted with a large snake named zombie, stories claim she led Voudou ceremonies in Congo Square that grew so large they had to be moved to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. There are more versions of her story than bars in the French Quarter.

Long explores the unique social, political, and legal setting in which the lives of Marie Laveau’s African and European ancestors became intertwined. Changes in New Orleans engendered by French and Spanish rule, the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow segregation affected seven generations of Laveau’s family, from enslaved great-grandparents of pure African blood to great-grandchildren who were legally classified as white. Simultaneously, she examines the evolution of New Orleans Voudou, which until recently has been ignored by scholars.

Long is research associate at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. This lecture is sponsored by the Student Government Association of Northwestern State University.