Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Inn on St. Anne - New Orleans, LA (The Home of Marie Laveau)

1013 Saint Anne St.
New Orleans, LA 70116

*Photos courtesy of  
           When people think of New Orleans, one of the first things they think of, other than the Saints of course, is Voodoo. For centuries, Voodoo has played a prominent part in the culture that makes up the Crescent City in addition to other parts of the state. The religion originated from the west African Yoruba people who lived in eighteenth and nineteenth century Dahomey. Slaves brought their religion with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies. Hoodoo refers to African traditional folk magic. A rich magical tradition which was indigenous to ancient African cultures, its practice was imported when mainly West Africans were enslaved and brought to the United States. As the practice seemed too taboo, slaves were banned from practicing the religion, so they looked for ways to mask it. As mentioned earlier with Magnolia Plantation, they did so by incorporating large amounts of French and Spanish Catholicism into their worship, which is why many of the Voodoo Lwa, or Gods, are symbolized by Catholic Saints such as St. Peter, St. Michael and St. Christopher.

            As Voodoo became a little more widely accepted in the community, prominent practitioners became well known. Probably the most notable of these priests, or shall we say priestess, was the famed Marie Laveau. Marie Catherine Laveau was said to have been born around 1801 to two free people of color, one being Creole. She was raised into the Voodoo religion where she perfected it beyond many peoples' beliefs and capabilities. She was married twice and had a total of fifteen children. One of these children would be named Marie Laveau II and is said to have been nearly as knowledgable in the religion as her mother. The two were known for hosting large public rituals, which garnered them attention and quite a bit of money.

One of many portraits of the famed
Voodoo queen, Marie Laveau.
            The original Marie Laveau is said to have died on June 16, 1881, however many feel that she lived for many more decades, surpassing any average human life expectancy. This is probably false, as Marie's daughter is said to have looked just like her mother and she may have often portrayed herself as the deceased Marie for years to come until she died. Marie I is rumored to be buried at the St. Louis Cemetery number one, and her grave is a common tourist attraction. Don’t worry, the cemetery will be a future article very soon!
            Forgive me if I began to stray a bit, but I had to touch on the subject of Voodoo and the legacy of Marie Laveau in order to discuss our next haunted location, as Marie herself, lived here for many years. On St. Anne Street, there sits a small inn known as the Creole House, as well as the Inn on Saint Anne. The inn is your traditional New Orleans guesthouse, featuring many amenities and offering luxurious accommodations.
            Built in 1830, the inn is most known for its adjacent Marie Laveau Apartments, a frequent stop for tourists and Voodoo enthusiasts alike.  This traditional Creole cottage was once owned as French Quarter apartments for rent by Marie Laveau herself, as she took up residence here for quite some time. Now, these twelve guestrooms are homage to the famed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans! One can only imagine what events may have taken place within these small cottage rooms.
Inn on St. Anne courtyard.
When people hear the word Voodoo, they immediately cringe, as they think it's all about evil possessions and animal sacrifices, which is not the case at all. As with many of these religions, you have black forms and you have white forms. It is said that Marie was enamored by all of society; white, black, rich and poor. Everyone went to Marie for help regarding health, money, love, fertility and legal issues. 

            It is uncertain as to who exactly haunts the inn, as no direct evidence points to Marie Laveau. Many strange happenings have reported over the years and it’s quickly blamed on Laveau and her magical past. One of the more common, yet odd, reports here are that many of the exterior doorknobs to the guestrooms go missing. Sometimes they are found in other parts of the building, sometimes they are simply laid at the doorstep and other times they are never to be seen again. I've never heard of any Voodoo rituals that called for doorknobs as an ingredient to any magical powder so I can only assume its Marie or one of her practitioners simply “hobnobbing” with guests! Sorry folks, I couldn't pass that one up!

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