Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marie Laveaux's Pink Tomb: Vandalism or Devotion?

New Orleans is known as the most haunted city in America, and the body of lore attributed to Marie Laveaux contributes greatly to this reputation. It is said she takes pleasure in haunting those who disrespect her. Sometimes, she simply wants to make her presence known and reinforce the notion that her reign as Voodoo Queen of New Orleans did not die when her physical body passed through the veil. There are frequent sightings of her all around New Orleans taking the form of both human and animals. One legend, for example, tells of a Marie Laveaux who never died, but simply shapeshifted into a large black crow that can still be seen flying over the cemetery (Guiley, 2000).

However, one of the most intriguing pieces of folklore surrounding Marie Laveaux is that of the magickal properties ascribed to her final resting place. Her tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1, one of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans, has become a pilgrimage site for Voodooists and others interested in paying homage to the infamous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. 

Earlier this month, the Voodoo Queen's tomb was painted a bright pink. Most of the chatter surrounding the event reflects shock and dismay. People are used to white graves, and aside from the multitudes of Xs drawn on her tomb, the only color the tomb has been painted is white. But is pink such a bad color?

While most people I have spoken to have expressed a dislike for the color and disappointment with the apparent vandalism, not everyone shares this point of view. Oskar "Doc Mojo" Yetzirah is among the first to state he rather liked the color, as it reminds him of the colorful tombs in some of the Mexican Catholic cemeteries. And, in fact, he raises some good points. According to Yetzirah: "What is the color pink in conjure work? Pink is associated with friendship, honor, love, morality, affection, spiritual awakening, unselfishness, leadership, femininity, togetherness, unity and healing. Now, this is just to name a few. I am sure you all have items you’d like to add to the grocery list. In the barrio traditions, pink is used to generate great affection. This is why you will see many tombs of grandmothers and mothers painted pink in the valley cemeteries."

Before...Photo courtesy of Jules Moon, https://www.facebook.com/luna.jewel1

After...Photo courtesy of Dorothy Morrison


What do you think? Read more at the New Orleans Voodoo Examiner.

Find an article in Hoodoo & Conjure: New Orleans all about the Wishing Tomb of Marie Laveaux.

1 comment:

  1. There's more to the story here:

    http://conjureart.blogspot.com/2013/12/wicked-witch-extraordinaire-dorothy.html

    ReplyDelete