Top critical review
Basic, face palming, and somewhat funny
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2020
The whole book is laughable. Marie was like Harriet Tubman and helped runaway slaves, she was like Clara Bartman by helping "cure hundreds of cholera," and basically Miss Cleo by pretending to be a voodoo queen.
It's like a rushed homework assignment. Have you needed to write a research paper and then use wikipedia and random geocities websites to bend the truth and add volume? That's what this book is like.
First of all, there's hardly any real information about the real Marie Laveau. Everything about her being a voodoo queen is hearsay and was printed after her death. Secondly, voodoo wasn't practiced in New Orleans when she was alive. Marie was never initiated and therefore was never a voodoo queen. It was a part of the culture, even today, where competing fortune tellers and rootworkers claimed to be voodoo queens, when they never actually practiced voodoo. Marie's mentor was a hoodoo rootworker that went by the title of Doctor. Real voodoo priests aren't called Doctors. Rootworkers call themselves doctors.
The author kept adding quotes from random papers where people claimed to be taught by Marie when they most likely lied to give themselves clout. Look at how people still namedrop today. Hyatt never documented credible evidence of voodoo being practiced in New Orleans nor of Marie Laveau, yet the author included a quote saying that hoodoo and voodoo were called the same there.
The author wrote about Marie like she was some action figure. She helped cure hundreds from cholera as a nurse, and helped house countless slaves during the underground railroad! Wow Marie was busy. Those claims are unsubstantiated and again, were written years after her death. Don't you know that even the salem witch trials weren't widely written about until over 100 years later? Same thing.
The author also kept reaching by saying Marie prayed to St. Maroon who was black or mixed and represented runaway slaves. No record of that but there's a St. Maron from Syria who didn't have anything to do with slavery. She also claimed Marie petitioned Papa Legba and Barob Samedi, and even Mami Wata. The author really really tried it with that one. Some voodoo queen had a centaur looking statue that Marie stole. The fortune tellers were always competing and marie was known for sending her people to drive competitors out of town. Couldn't her magical ability do that instead? It wouldn't surprise me if she wrote that Marie petitioned Santisima Muerte.
There's a couple of hoodoo rituals like a bath, altar set up, candle workings, but those can be found on the internet and shows that Marie wasn't a Mambo. She wasn't a voodoo queen, and she most likely just practiced hoodoo like the other so called voodoo queens of New Orleans.
Dancing with a snake for spectators has nothing to do with voodoo. The author shied away from the very shady details of Marie's life which would make a lot of people uncomfortable. I had to check this book out and see if it was as bad as her first hoodoo voodoo book. Conflating the two spiritual systems have confused and frustrated a lot of people.