“The Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Redbone – About A REAL Voodoo Priestess And It’s A Funky Song for Halloween

Here’s an unofficial video for created by a pop music chart show from Bremen, West Germany. The song is a funky jam and I think better than their other well-known single “Come And Get Your Love”.

Redbone released a recording of the song in 1971 as a single and on an the LP Message from a Drum. Pat and Lolly Vegas, brothers and band-mates wrote the song together. Their recording combines elements of Southern Swamp-Rock, Native Folk-Rock and Funk.

Redbone was actually the first All Native American band to reach number one on a singles chart in any country. It was with this song. “Witch Queen” reached number one in Belgium. It hit number two on the UK Singles chart. It got to 15 in Canada but only 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

courtesy of discogs

Because of the subject matter, the song has become a favorite for Halloween celebrations in the US, UK and Canada.

The song is about a 19th century Voodoo practitioner named Marie Laveau. You probably didn’t read about her in your high-school history book. She was a free woman of color, Creole, born and died in New Orleans, 1801-1881.

1920 portrait formerly identified as Marie Laveau (1794–1881) by Frank Schneider, based on an 1835 painting (now lost?) by George Catlin.

Her life story is long and interesting. There is far to much to cover here in this blog. The short version is that she was a famous Herbalist, Voodoo Priestess, Beautician and Midwife. Despite being a person of color, she herself owned slaves. For a while she was the elected leader of The New Orleans Voodoo Organization. This is why they gave her the nickname “Witch Queen”.

Her unique life experience has inspired many writers and musicians to referenced her in their work. You can still visit her grave today. Notice the marker refers to her VooDoo organization as a cult. Her former home and grave-site are both thought to be haunted by her dead soul.

courtesy of atlasobscura

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