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New Shrine of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau Dedicated

By Doug MacCash

Artist Ricardo Pustanio has been buddies with voodoo priestess Sallie Ann Glassman for almost 25 years. When he attended one of Glassman’s St. John’s Eve head-washing rituals on Bayou St. John two years ago, he felt that something was missing. The ceremony, he said, lacked a highly visible focal point.

Pustanio, who designs and sculpts the decorations for the annual Mid-City Mardi Gras parade, offered to produce a statue of New Orleans’ legendary 19th century voodoo priestess Marie Laveau for use during the annual bayou ceremony. Laveau, it’s said, similarly drew crowds to Bayou St. John for public rituals.

There are no bona fide images of the voodoo queen, Pustanio said, and the facts of her life are blurred by the passing decades and an accumulation of speculation. So the life-size statue he conceived is not intended as an historical rendering; it’s a combination of Laveau’s “spirit, the legend and the myth.”

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