The most common style of traditional altar for Marie Laveau among Voodooists, particularly for her feast day, is the three-tiered altar. This may be in part due to her partiality to creating these types of altars herself as seen in the earlier section, Prison Ministry. However, it is likely Marie was influenced by the Church for creating this style of altar. To set up a three-tiered altar, you will need the following items:
- Table (bottom tier)
- 2 elevations for subsequent tiers—these could be sturdy boxes, shelves, even stacks of books (one should be larger than the other)
- Blue and white cloth
- An image of her tomb, framed
- 2 bunches of flowers
- Blue or white vases
- 7 white glass-encased candles
- Pretty cobalt blue or white plate
- Beautician-related items such as mirrors, combs, brushes, perfumes, hairsprays, hair ribbons, and the like
- New Orleans–themed items such as Mardi Gras beads, doubloons (especially with her image), voodoo dolls
- Healing-related items such as a mortar and pestle, thermometer, roots and herbs, and medicines
- Statues or framed images of Papa Legba, Ellegua, St. Anthony, St. Peter, St. Expedite, St. Joseph, Mother Mary, and/or St. Jude
- Your best found gris gris
- Clear glass of water
- A wooden box for your gris gris
- Image or doll of Marie Laveau
- Snake figurine—king snake, water moccasin, rattlesnake, python or boa constrictor
- 1 special blue candle
- Rosary or chaplet
This is the bottom tier. Drape a blue cloth over a table or lay it on the ground. On the center front, place the framed image of Marie’s tomb. On either side of the cloth, place fresh flowers in blue or white vases. Place four candles at the four cardinal points of the lower tier. Place your various offerings on this level. The arrangement is not as important as its aesthetic appeal (remember, she likes pretty—queenly pretty). Place a cobalt blue or white plate for her food offerings on this level.
Place the elevation shelf on top center toward the back. Drape this layer with another blue or white cloth. On either side, place images of St. Anthony and St. Peter (you can substitute Legba for St. Peter). Place three more white candles—two on either side, and one in the middle. You can place more flowers on both sides of this level. Add a clear glass of water with a crucifix laid across the top. In the center front, place your gris gris box. Keep any gris gris you make to charge up in this box for seven days for full consecration.
Place the third elevated shelf on top center and drape with another blue cloth. Place an image of Marie Laveau in the middle of the top layer, with a snake figurine at her feet and the special blue candle next to her but not in front of her. Keep her chaplet on this level. The reason for the three separate cloths is to prevent slippage, which can happen with one larger cloth draping over all three tiers.