One of the highlights of visiting New Orleans for the RT Booklovers Convention was the opportunity to visit a very historic cemetery, the oldest in Louisiana, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Of course the main draw, after watching Season 3 of American Horror Story-Coven, was the grave of Marie Laveau. Marie Laveau was the voodoo priestess of New Orleans and wielded what many considered otherworldly powers. The more likely truth was that as hairdresser to the rich and prominent, she had her finger on the pulse of the community and leveraged her knowledge in all sorts of interesting ways to her ultimate benefit.
Voodoo networking if you will.
You’ll notice lots of little Xs on her grave. Supposedly, by marking three Xs on her stone and performing a very specific ritual complete with spins and an offering of gifts as homage, you could invoke Marie’s spirit to do favors for you from the great beyond. Or if you can’t be bothered to visit the actual grave, you can purchase a few spells from this voodoo entrepreneur. Seriously. Google it. You’ll be amazed.
The fact American Horror Story – Coven was set in New Orleans and that the RT Booklovers Convention was being held in NOLA this year was a happy coincidence for me. Marie Laveau and her nemesis Madame LaLaurie were the main characters. The urban legend is that Marie Laveau is immortal and still alive in NOLA. Each of her daughters was also named Marie and apparently held a striking resemblance to their mother, which fueled that myth and made for a ripe and luscious storyline for Coven. So you can imagine I was even more excited to get to see Madame LaLaurie’s grave in the same cemetery.
Madame LaLaurie was not a nice woman. She tortured and murdered slaves while her husband held cocktail parties in the French Quarter…at this house.
Notice the Xs on Madame LaLaurie’s grave too. Like we need that maniac back and on the loose.
A few of the other graves had X’s and offerings as well. This was for some other voodoo priest. Our guide said that if people really understood who he had been they wouldn’t be trying to invoke him, which of course made us all the more curious. Well played, tour guide. Well played.
You can see people left what they had on them or could find lying around. Lipstick, seashells, beads, gum. If I were a powerful voodoo deity, I’d be a little pissed about the gum.
Other graves had stones or coins on them as a tribute to their visit and not an offering in hopes of returned favors. I see this in cemeteries in my own Midwest community from time to time. Haven’t seen any Xs however.
Come back next week for another visit to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. There were too many amazing graves for just one post.
Speaking of graves…
Have you read book one of my Reaper Series?
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Reap & Repent blurb
They see death. Can they share a life?
Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.
Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.
A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.