Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire cover

Book Review – The Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire by Denise Alvarado

Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire cover
Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire by Denise Alvarado

Book Review

The Marie Laveau Voodoo Grimoire

by Denise Alvarado

Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser

240 Pages

Release Date: February 5, 2024

“Alvarado skillfully uses Laveau as a conduit to bring to life voodoo’s rich history (she takes particular care to examine its West African roots) and modern applications. This bewitching compendium is ideal for those seeking to expand their magical horizons.”

Publishers Weekly

Marie Laveau is known as the Queen of New Orleans Voodoo and is remembered and honored by pagans from all backgrounds and beliefs. As a hoodoo practitioner and rootworker, I was excited to get this book. 

Author Denise Alvarado is very upfront about how she put this book together since Laveau could not read or write and left no written record of her workings. Alvarado states that she uses this book to document Marie Laveau’s specific tradition, utilizing interviews of those who witnessed the Voodoo Queen’s practices that the Federal Writers’ Project documented between 1936 and 1941, as well as other related research.

The result is a work rich in the culture of that time and the heritage of Black people who struggled against racism and hatred in New Orleans. Each chapter begins with a quote that draws the reader into that time and goes on to make the reader feel as though they are right there at Laveau’s side, learning from the master herself.

I almost forgot that my purpose in reading was to learn traditional formulations and workings. I often had to make a note to go back to specific pages to learn the recipes for oils, powders, and kitchen remedies.

I was truly impressed at the amount of information Alvarado could squeeze into 240 pages. She covered basics such as how to care for magical tools, the best times for magical works, and even beauty formulas. But she also covers more in-depth workings for love, protection, cleansing, and so much more. She even has recipes for kitchen conjure that left me craving a pot of red beans and rice.

My biggest surprise wasn’t a piece of magical wisdom but a history lesson on the origins of the tignon. I always thought these came from some type of African tradition. I had no idea the tignon was created to oppress women of color. But those innovative women managed to turn it around and make the tignon a beautiful fashion accessory, and even made white women join in on the “trend.”

About the Author

For those unfamiliar, Denise Alvarado comes from a rich and deep Creole culture and has many books to her credit. So save space on your bookshelf. You’ll likely want to collect more of her books if you don’t have them already. When you’re ready to learn more about hoodoo and conjure, you’ll enjoy her educational site, You’ll also find a companion course with this book there. It’s a course I’m hoping to take advantage of soon.