Currently in New York it’s Wednesday. But this is no ordinary Wednesday.
Today marks an auspicious day for those who have followed a group of Witches in New Orleans. Today marks the finale of American Horror Story – Coven. This instalment of American Horror Story is probably the most talked about in terms of watchability and social media obsession. I have also been caught up in its spell with a few purchases of T-shirts showcasing the famous catchphrase “On Wednesdays We Wear Black”.
So the question of the finale is ‘Who is the Supreme Witch?’ … and ‘Is Fiona Really Dead?’
In several hours, Facebook and Twitter will go off with reactions to this highly regarded show. In the past months, we have endured quite violent and gruesome scenes that I’m sure are in context with themes of witchcraft and voodoo. I’m sure they are dramatised for effect though. What is exciting about the show is my own fascination with New Orleans and its Voodoo history and culture.
In American Horror Story – Coven, some of the characters are based on real people:
Marie Laveau, played by Angela Bassett was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo renowned in New Orleans and a hairdresser. Her daughter, Marie Laveau II, also practiced Voudoun, as well as Voodoo. She and her mother had great influence over their multiracial following. In 1874 as many as twelve thousand spectators, both black and white, swarmed to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to catch a glimpse of Marie Laveau II performing her legendary rites on St. John’s Eve (June 23–24).
Marie Delphine LaLaurie, played by Kathy Bates, was more commonly known as Madame LaLaurie, a Louisiana-born socialite and serial killer known for her involvement in the torture and murder of slaves. Born in New Orleans, LaLaurie married three times over the course of her life. She maintained a prominent position in the social circles of New Orleans until April 10, 1834, when rescuers responding to a fire at her Royal Street mansion discovered bound slaves within the house who showed evidence of torture over a long period. LaLaurie’s house was subsequently sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens, and it is thought that she fled to Paris, where she is believed to have died. As of 2014, the Royal Street mansion where LaLaurie lived is still standing and is a prominent New Orleans landmark.
The Axeman of New Orleans, played by Danny Huston, was a serial killer active in New Orleans, Louisiana (and surrounding communities, including Gretna, Louisiana), from May 1918 to October 1919. Press reports during the height of public panic about the killings mentioned similar murders as early as 1911, but recent researchers have called these reports into question.
As we say goodbye to the characters we have grown to love (or hate), I will be wearing Black. And yes, I will miss you Misty Day.
For those who will be wondering what to watch next, the new WGN series SALEM – about the Salem Witch Hunts – airs soon. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, ‘Salem’ explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. In Salem, witches are real, but they are not who or what they seem.