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A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau Paperback – October 7, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Thanks to this writer's exhaustive, scrupulous, honest research debunking the false or questionable myths passed down through the generations, we can now be confident of what we know and do not know about Marie Laveau and her life and times in nineteenth-century New Orleans."--Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Book Description

"There are few figures in New Orleans history as alluring as Marie Laveau . . . a figure who stood at the very nexus of religion, magic, commerce, and history, and this fascinating, well-documented volume is the worthy result."--New Orleans Times-Picayune
 
"In an era when most black Southern women were slaves, this savvy woman found not only freedom but tremendous power through her resourcefulness."--Deep
 
"According to mysterious, oft-told-tales, Laveau was an extraordinary celebrity whose sorcery-fueled influence extended widely from slaves to upper class whites. . . . The true story of Marie Laveau, though considerably less flamboyant than the legend, is equally compelling."--Birmingham Times
 
"Long uncovers the fascinating story of the flesh-and-blood woman behind the legend and in so doing enriches our understanding of life in New Orleans in the nineteenth century."--Vaughan B. Baker, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
 
Legendary for an unusual combination of spiritual power, beauty, charisma, showmanship, intimidation, and shrewd business sense, Marie Leveau also was known for her kindness and charity, nursing yellow fever victims and ministering to condemned prisoners, and her devotion to the Roman Catholic Church.
 
In separating verifiable fact from semi-truths and complete fabrication, Carolyn Morrow Long explores the unique social, political, and legal setting in which the lives of Laveau’s African and European ancestors became intertwined in nineteenth-century New Orleans.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (October 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813032148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813032146
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The research and details in this book are incredible. Dates, names, addresses - this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the life of Marie Laveau, or just New Orleans history. I'm taking the book on my next trip to the Crescent city to visit some of the places Long mentions in her book. Very well documented and extremely readable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book that is not about Marie Laveau so much as it is about the times and the milieu of Marie Laveaux. Altogether, from 287 pages, I would hazard a guess that collectively about 5 pages are about Marie Laveau. This is a book to read if you are interested in New Orleans and New Orleans vodoo in particular, but you will surely be disappointed, as I was, if you go into this book thinking it will be about Marie Laveau.
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Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Long's latest work, like her earlier Spiritual Merchants, is an fascinating piece of historical detective work. Sifting through the legends that surround Marie Laveau--and briefly Voodoo in general--she has produced a readable, highly-accurate biography. Those who are hoping to find titillating accounts of midnight Voodoo orgies within its pages will be disappointed. Instead, what readers will discover are the facts behind a woman who has been alternately vilified and lionized by the American public. Voudou Priestess demystifies Laveau and gives future scholars as well as general readers a firm foundation upon which to base their understandings of Voudou and its ministers.
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Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Morrow Long's portrait of the elusive but everpresent Marie Laveau is an awesome feat of detective work, a painstaking investigation of all the available church, court, government, and anecdotal records. In conveying her very thorough research in a clear, orderly, and graceful style, Long has produced as comprehensive a picture of this fabled woman as we are likely to get. Her account is definitive, and is likely to remain so for years to come.

--Stanford Pritchard, Middlebury, VT
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Format: Paperback
If you like reading about American History and you're looking for something exotic, look no further; you've come to the right place. In addition to the above, Carolyn Morrow Long's book, "A New Orleans Voudou Priestess," is extremely well written and thoroughly researched, not often the case in these days of 30 second sound bites and mindless talk shows. Author Long begins as is the case with scientific researchers with telling us how she conducted her research and what she found, both truth and rumor. Also of great value to us are the facts of the Louisiana Teritory's various governments, their ethnic makeup, and primary languages. We learn, too, of the waves of new immigrants and the ease of assimilation, including slaves and free people of color, both African-born and Creole (i.e.,Louisiana-born individuals of whatever ethnicity).

"New Orleans Voudou Priestess" is organized in content-labeled chapters and includes a bibliography, a helpful guide for further study. Chapter notes and many references to the Louisiana Writers Project (LWP) organized as one of many such projects during the great depression are also invaluable resources. Of course, the book has bountiful references to Voudou in its many forms and its proximity to other beliefs, African and Haitian as well as Roman Catholicism.

In all, Carolyn Morrow Long has produced a five star book for scholars, but just as important she has produced a five star book of clean, clear prose, of accessible readability for laymen. Hurrah! for her and good for all of us who love American history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This almost reads like a research paper but everything you ever wanted to know fact or fiction is included. I thought it was interesting that the author included the history of the myths. That sentence will make sense if you read the book. It took me a while to read it. I set it down a few times and came back to it. Very good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is likely the most accurately researched book on Marie Laveau that has been written. I liked the book from a historically researched accurate work of non-fiction. Carolyn Morrow Long went though an enormous amount of research to write this book. She also read many other authors on Marie Laveau includes snippets of their work to give the reader a chance to see what other authors have said about Marie. Will you come away feeling that you knew Marie? Not really, but you will come away from reading this book knowing that the author researched the period and people of the times. From a purely historical perspective, this book is a fascinating read. The author writes about the times and the people and the way they lived. There are addresses researched, newspaper reports (although, they seem to be very embellished and no fault of the author) birth, baptism and death records and archived ownership records. I felt as if you could really experience the city of New Orleans from this book. The stage was set for a story and I think many people that have written about the Voudou Priestess have written stories that embellished the truth. There are no journals to tell this mysterious story. You do not feel that you know Marie but you are given the information on the way she lived and the times she lived in. If the author had more information, she would have given it to you. She does a wonderful job of putting the information together. I would have loved to understand exactly what the Voudou Priestess did and who she was personally. However, you cannot write a book about a personality if you don't have her own written story. I did appreciate eyewitness accounts of things seen and reported them to the Louisiana Writers Project. Those stories are the closest I think we will get.Read more ›
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