A Marie Laveau costume is a great idea for Halloween or a Voodoo themed costume party.
Voodoo Queens feature prominently throughout the history of Louisiana Voodoo and Marie Laveau is the most famous, most revered, most respected and most feared of them all.
In this tutorial you’ll learn a little more about the famous Marie Laveau and I’ll show you how to piece together your very own Marie Laveau costume.
Marie Laveau: Voodoo Queen of Louisiana
During the time when slavery was commonplace, Marie Laveau was a free Creole woman of color. She was born on September 10, 1801 (although this is disputed, some report her birth year as 1794) in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She actively reigned as the Voodoo Queen of Louisiana from the 1820s to the 1860s, succeeded by her daughter Marie Laveau II, but the legend of her power and beauty have lived on indefinitely.
Laveau was an active supporter of Catholicism and worked as a hairdresser, liquor importer and as a nurse and spiritual healer, but she made her fortune selling gris-gris. She influenced and advised political leaders and the wealthy. Her pet snake, a boa constrictor (or possibly a python), was named ‘Li Grand Zombi’, named after one of the loas, and was an active participant in her voodoo rituals.
Over time history has been embellished and much has been debated about Marie Laveau. Some say she was just a hairdresser who manipulated her superstitious clientele while others say she was all powerful and view her as a saint, ever powerful in death. Regardless, she is intertwined in Louisiana Voodoo legend and lore and time has not diluted her mystery and allure. Over the years she had been featured in fiction, film and in song. To this day tourists and locals alike visit her grave to pay their respects and to ask favors.
Make Your Own Marie Laveau Costume
To create your own Marie Laveau look you can either model your costume after the above image and choose warm tones, or you can check out some more colorful images:
The painting by Charles Gandolfo shows Marie in a blue dress with a matching blue shawl, gold hoop earrings and a pinkish-beige tignon (head scarf).
The painting by Bob Graham is an interpretation of Marie Laveau outside her grave dressed in a blue dress, with matching shawl and tignon, and with her snake, Li Grande Zombi, draped around her neck.
Once you’ve decided which interpretation you want to follow, you need to find a dress.
I just love the paintings showing a blue dress so this teal bohemian maxi dress would be my choice. It’s cute and affordable and I would totally wear even not as part of a costume.
Once you’ve got your dress sorted out then you need to choose two pashmina wraps, one for your shawl and one to create your tignon. You can either choose two the same color or your can mix and match colors.
I’ve chosen a turquoise paisley pashmina to use as a shawl and a beige pashmina to use as a tignon. The beige pashmina is 70″ in length which is almost 6 feet and will be long enough to create your tignon wrap.
If you’re wondering how to tie a tignon, check out this nifty tutorial:
Once you’ve got the main part of your outfit put together you’ll want to add some finishing touches. A pair of gold hoop earrings is a great idea. A mojo bag, or gris-gris bag, is an essential part of any Voodoo Queen costume. You can either buy one or make one.
Finally, no Marie Laveau costume is complete without a prop snake to wear on your shoulders. Whether you choose a plush snake, or a foam or plastic snake, be sure to read the description to ensure it’s not too heavy. You will be wearing it all evening and you don’t want sore shoulders.