A famous practitioner of Voodoo, Marie Laveau was a Lousiana Creole born in New Orleans in 1794. Her father was a white plantation owner and her mother, a Creole woman of color. She married Jacques Paris, a man from Haiti who came to New Orleans after the Haitian Revolution of 1804. He died under mysterious circumstances in 1820. After his death Marie became a hairdresser to the wealthy white community. She took a lover named Louis Christophe Dumesnil de Glapion. They are rumored to have had 15 children until he passed away in 1835.
Some say she had a snake named Zombi, after an African god. Little can be said about her magic with certainty. As many as twelve thousand spectators would show up when she performed her rites on St. John's Eve, annually on June 23-24.
Marie Laveau by Frank Schneider, 1920. Replica of an 1835 original painting by George Caitlin. Image via Wikipedia.