Marie Laveau couldn't write so be aware that this is not a collection written by her hand but a compilation of historically accurate magic, a best educated guess, of what traditional lore Marie Laveau would have known and likely used. From interviews of the Federal Writers Project in New Orleans with first hand accounts of resident's experiences with the Voodoo Queen to the unpublished voodoo manuscript of Catherine Dillon, this grimoire offers more than a glimpse of the old time ways. Alvarado is also a practitioner and so despite her historical forays, her books are designed for present day readers who want to try their hand at solving age old problems.

From the cover art with its lovely embossed serpent and poppies in a an art nouveau motif to the black and white photos within, this book sets a scene for the topic at hand. While most of the magic is for practical matters, it's presented with finesse. Probably because the author is a Creole from New Orleans, she contextualizes the practices. So a recipe for congris, red beans and rice, tells the origins, the recipe, and the legendary figures associated with it. A working to bind a lover in place was told to Zora Neale Huston in 1931. Elements of spiritualism, hoodoo and other influences on the citizens of New Orleans make their way into the magical milieu. Marie Laveau takes center stage but you'll find her at home in the cultural currents of the Crescent City.

The Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire pays homage to the Queen of New Orleans voodoo by researching historical sources and cultural practices to provide readers with a respectful, knowledgeable guide to the magic of New Orleans.

Highly recommended

~review by Larissa Carlson

Author: Denise Alvarado
Weiser Books, 2023