3.13.2013

Peggy Eaton

photograph of Peggy Eaton who caused the Petticoat Affair during President Andrew Jackson's first administration
Peggy Eaton was the wife of John Eaton, President Andrew Jackson's Secretary of War. Rumors of an extramarital affair caused other cabinet wives to shun her. The resulting scandal, the "Petticoat Affair," brought about the resignation of Jackson's entire cabinet and changed the direction of the political careers of two powerful men: John C. Calhoun and Martin Van Buren.

Margaret Peggy O'Neill, born December 3, 1799, was the oldest of six children born to William and Rhoda Howell O'Neill. Peggy's father was the owner of Franklin House, a popular Washington, DC boarding house and social center for politicians. Peggy was well-educated, and was known for her ability to play the piano and her "vivacious" temperament.

7.01.2012

Marie Laveau

Voodoo Queen of New Orleans

19th century Creole woman who became the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans
Marie Laveau by New Orleans artist Dimitri Fouquet

Marie Laveau (1794–1881) was a Louisiana Creole: descended from the colonial white settlers, black slaves and free people of color of southern Louisiana. For several decades this 'Voodoo Queen' held New Orleans spellbound. She staged ceremonies in which participants became possessed by loas (Voodoo spirits); she dispensed charms and potions, even saving several condemned men from the gallows; told fortunes and healed the sick.

The first white settlers of Louisiana were French, usually the second born sons of aristocrats who left France to seek adventure in the New World. These Frenchmen came to be called Creole, and made up the upper crust of New Orleans. The word was later used to refer to white Frenchmen as well as people of color in New Orleans. The Creole living in Louisiana at that time inter-mixed with Black slaves, free people of color, Indian and Acadian people. Many Creole today can trace there ancestors back to that time.