Modern Day Marie Laveau: Talking to the Dead in New Orleans

New Orleans magic has a reputation that precedes itself. From Voodoo Queens to a heavy handful of the world’s most haunted places: Visitors from near and far already have a taste of mysticism on their tongue long before they step foot into the famed French Quarter. 

But what of New Orleans spirituality today? Marie Laveau passed on in 1881 and although she is revived daily by her legacy, she no longer walks the neon lit strip of Bourbon. Although fun attractions, most walking witch and ghost tours are rarely allowed inside to greet the supposed spirits of each dwelling.  

So what does modern mysticism look like in the Big Easy?

“Good cannot exist without evil,” Dana Boisseau, a New Orleans born-and-bred Spiritual Medium reveals. “Spiritualists have to serve as protectors of this city.” 

She explains that there is always a balance to be maintained. Tourists make their pilgrimage to dump their negative energy and their deepest woes in order to laissez le bon temps roule. Between out-of-towner debaucheries and the ever-present struggle of high crime rates, Boisseau believes this creates a tipping point: “like a boiling pot kept tight under a lid.” If not minded, the scalding water will blow the lid off. If we do not perform a cleansing, she warns, “our ancestors will do it for us.” 

A true New Orleanian, Boisseau has been aware of her gift her whole life: she can speak with the dead. However, this ability was rarely shared with the people around her. She did not question it. One strong memory Dana recalls is the lack of grief when losing someone, family or friend: “Why should I be sad when I will just see them next week?” 

Between being at peace with her ability and being tossed about in the tides of life, Boisseau gave her gift little to no spotlight. She believed from early on that her true gift was hairstyling and pursued this gift with a passion. She went on to not only become one of the most successful hairstylists in film, but opened her own hair agency and hair school. Whew

Only recently (less than a year ago!) Boisseau found her true self using her gift: being a medium. She has refocused full time into connecting with the dead for her clients. The biggest struggle has been the shift in financial returns but Boisseau has no regrets. She believes, “nothing in the past is done in vain and understanding the past is the key to your future.” 

Boisseau is grateful for her connection to New Orleans. In this special city, she has not had to [come out of the closet] so to speak. Being a medium is almost expected from a born and bred New Orleanian. She is familiar with the spiritual realm; every place has its own spiritual residents but there’s no place like home. 

When Boisseau is not connecting people with their long lost loves, she embraces the cultural spirit of New Orleans. When speaking to the living, New Orleans truly is the Big Easy. A conversation can be struck with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just as other cities have their own spirits, they also have their own people and not every city is as inviting to this lifestyle as New Orleans. On a warm evening, you might find Boisseau at Taco Tuesday at The Rum House or hunting down PJ Oysters across the city. Perhaps she can convince you to visit Ray’s on the River where they do frying right! Look, mediums can be foodies too!

Boisseau not only has fabulous flavor for local food, but offers sincere advice for those inclined to heed her words. She encourages everyone to reach their potential in their destiny. When you’re ready to shed the skin stitched to you from trauma, social expectations, and the like, “Pray to your ancestors that you need to be revealed,” she advises. “Life is better when you live as your true self.”

In addition, spiritually connect to your ancestors. Whether you’re grieving a recent loss or want to connect to someone passed on long before you, she suggests a white candle and maybe their favorite snack; light the candle and Boisseau guarantees you will feel that person’s presence.

She explains that clients are often surprised that when a spirit is reached, they also require healing. Worries and pain do not dissipate at death. Spirits seek closure too. Healing can (and will) happen on both sides. But what does this look like for paying customers seeking guidance?

When this spiritual medium sees a client for a spiritual healing, plus direction, she sees her clients in two parts: an initial reading and a meeting to perform the healing itself prescribed and formulated specifically for that client. 

In step one, Boisseau meets her client for an initial reading. Within this segment, Boisseau will connect to their ancestors and read them in order to seek the truth. When she is satisfied, it is time to say goodbye. Dana returns to her dwelling and formulates a particular tea or bath for her client’s specific needs. 

Then it is time for the second meeting. Dana will begin by clearing their house of negative energy using a Palo Smudge (a palo santo stick burned in order to evoke the fragrant smoke and employ it for cleansing). Then Dana will run a bath. She will bless the water and ask the positive energy to return and flow freely. Here, the special bath salts are added to the water. 

Her client is asked to bring a written list of their biggest traumas, heartbreaks, setbacks, etc. Writing the list brings the pain to the surface so that the bath may wash it away. Dana recommends after their (private) bath, her client air dry and lay down to rest. She advises good hydration. Spiritual healing is “like a really good work out,” she adds. 

Unlike Marie Laveau, who garnered a following as a hairdresser and listened to gossip from clients to build a network within both the wealthy and the enslaved, Boisseau uses a more modern approach: social media. Dana Boisseau can be reached via Facebook: Dana Boisseau and via Instagram: Esprit03 (DMs encouraged!)

“Live in your truth, do you,” Dana advises, “As long as I live in my true self, all is as it should be.”

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