Spell books, guidebooks, fictional works, music, and even a dance choreographed by Alvin Ailey have all paid tribute to the mysterious New Orleans mother and daughter both named Marie Laveau. Ward (anthropology, women's studies, & urban studies, Univ. of New Orleans; A World Full of Women) here provides eyeopening details of these two women's lives and the spiritual, magical, and sexual powers they wielded in 19th-century New Orleans. Marie Laveau the elder was the founder and priestess of American Voodoo; a free black woman, she also sought to relieve the suffering brought by racial and other injustices. Marie Laveau the younger worked on social issues concerning family and domestic violence and reluctantly became the bridge between her mother's French Creole brand of Voodoo and the Hoodoo that Southern blacks brought to New Orleans. Ward gathered information from the Louisiana Historical Collection, from libraries, and from wandering through historic New Orleans. Though many web sites are dedicated to these women and pilgrimages are still made to their gravesite, this appears to be the only full-length biography available. This engrossing book provides the feel of historic New Orleans during the Civil War and will hold the interest of most readers. Recommended for popular collections.-L. Kriz, West Des Moines P.L., IA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.