THE ICON: Marie Laveau
THE LEGACY: Over New Orleans’ first 300 years, few have embodied the mystique of the city as fully as Marie Laveau, the legendary Voodoo queen whose name is all but synonymous with the city’s eerie aura. Like New Orleans itself, she was full of contradictions, a devout Catholic who openly practiced the Voodoo traditions brought to the city by slaves. She was a healer, and she was an exorcist. She was a purveyor of charms, and she was dealer in hexes. Or maybe she wasn’t any of those things. Because above all else, she was a mystery, her history long ago inextricably intertwined with myth — making her a perfect cultural figurehead for New Orleans.
THE ARTIST: Queen Hope Parker, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “Although Marie Laveau’s history has been very much sought after, it has never been published. … The secrets of her life, however, could only be obtained by the old lady herself, but she would never tell the smallest part of what she knew.” — Lafcadio Hearn, in Marie Laveau’s 1881 obituary in The New York Times