Angela Bassett plays Marie Laveau on American Horror Story: Coven, which premieres tonight on FX.
If you’re like me, you can’t wait to see American Horror Story when it returns tonight, this time as Coven. This season promises to be pretty exciting, especially because several characters will be portrayed in the show who actually existed in real life. Kathy Bates plays Madame LaLaurie, a wealthy socialite and serial killer. She tortured and killed many of her slaves, fleeing to France to escape retribution.
However, for me, the most fascinating of them all–and believe me they both are–is the Queen of New Orleans Voodoo (Voudoun), Marie Laveau. Here are eight cool, and sometimes scary, facts about this most mysterious lady.
1) Sightings of Laveau were reported even after she was pronounced dead. (Source)
Despite her family confirming that she’d passed away peacefully in her sleep, the scandal surrounding her death had to do with her not really being dead at all… Or perhaps, not really gone. These reports are unconfirmed, but then again, the truth is always stranger than fiction.
2) She supported her husband and her father financially when times got tough. (Source)
Apparently, she was not content to sit idly by when things got a little tight in the purse. Her ability to support her father and husband in that time is remarkable. Have your doubts about this? Read on!
3) She had 15 children! (Source)
That may not seem interesting to you, but could you carry 15 children? Unfortunately, very few of them survived. One of her surviving daughters has been referred to as Marie Laveau II. Boss…
4) She was well-respected by wealthy whites and poor blacks alike. (Source)
She may have been Creole, but she was still a woman of color in a time where that meant facing an untold level of racism and cruelty. Still, she was well-respected by many, despite their race and her own.
5) She was an extremely capable nurse, tending to the sick masses. (Source)
No matter what people say about Laveau, one thing always seems to come up over and over again. Nobody seems to contest the fact that whenever help was needed tending to the sick, she dedicated herself to helping them get well or comforting as they transitioned to the other side. The first thing I thought about was how selfless she was with her health.
6) Even in death, she still holds clout.
If you’re wondering why the letter X is written all over her tomb, people still come to her tomb to ask for her favor, or assistance and blessing with some trouble or situation in their lives. Others write messages. Others leave fruit and other items. Either way, that’s a lot of love being shown. Word is she haunts the cemetery… I sure as hell don’t want to find out.
7) She owned slaves. (Source)
This one isn’t necessarily so “cool”, but if you’re a history geek, you probably know that this was somewhat commonplace depending on what end of the social strata you found yourself. I’m not surprised. She was in a common law marriage with a wealthy white aristocrat (she bore him seven kids).
8) If you had big secrets to keep, she probably knew them. (Source)
Being that she was highly sought after to cure and heal others, and was a celebrated Voudoun priestess, she got to know a lot of people and as a result, a lot of their secrets. However, there are reports that she had an impressive network of informants she could rely on to keep up on the happenings in New Orleans.
There are plenty more things about Marie that make her fascinating, but they are difficult to confirm (as if it weren’t difficult enough anyway). Rumors that she ran a brothel abound. Being that she was a devout Catholic, I’m not sure how true that is. I’ve always been pretty intrigued. Either way, I can’t wait to see how Angela will portray her on American Horror Story.