Historians to discuss the tombs of Marie Laveau and the shipwreck of the Evening Star
New Orleans is a city steeped in tales of voodoo spells, hauntings and tragedies from centuries ago that remain entrenched in local lore. As Halloween and All Saints Day draw nigh, Louisiana CulturalVistas magazine invites the public to hear tales from the dead at the Louisiana Humanities Center (938 Lafayette Street in New Orleans CBD) on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6–8 p.m.
Historian Carolyn Morrow Long, a biographer of Marie Laveau, will discuss the mysteries surrounding the shrine-like tomb of the Voodoo Queen in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Author Sally Asher will recount the 1866 shipwreck of the Evening Star, a steamship en route from New York to New Orleans that sank in a hurricane, becaming the deepwater grave of both the notable and notorious, from architect James Gallier to dozens of prostitutes destined to work New Orleans’ brothels. Fact is always stranger than fiction in the Crescent City, and these stories are guaranteed to be both mind-expanding and spine-tingling.
Both speakers will be signing their books: A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau by Long and Stories From the St. Louis Cemeteries of New Orleans by Asher. One complimentary copy each will be given away as prizes to two lucky attendees. Two free tours from Haunted History Tours will also be among the door prizes, along with a mousepad and drink holders decorated with skulls from Martin Welch Art gallery. El Gato Negro, a New Orleans Mexican restaurant with three locations, will serve their secret-recipe pineapple-cilantro margaritas in honor of Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican observance of All Saints Day. Hola Nola, a locally owned tortilla factory, will provide nacho chips, served alongside salsa and guacamole. A Halloween-themed centerpiece will be donated by Southern Costume Company.
Long, a retired research associate from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, is also the author of Spirtual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce, and Madame Lalaurie: Mistress of the Haunted House. She won first place in the 2015 Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism competition for her article about the Cracker Jack Hoodoo Drug Store that was published in the Spring 2014 edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas.
Asher has been the public relations photographer for Tulane University since 2008. She is the author of Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names and is working on a new book about Prohibition in Louisiana slated for publication by LSU Press in 2016 (an article on the same subject appeared in Louisiana Cultural Vistas). Her work has appeared in many local, national and international media outlets, including Newsweek, U.S. World News and Gambit. Her feature about the Evening Star appeared in the most recent Fall 2015 edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas.
Louisiana Cultural Vistas is the quarterly arts and culture magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianians. For more information, visit leh.org or knowlouisiana.org. For more information about the lectures, contact David Johnson at (504) 620-2476 or [email protected].