Louisiana History Alive
 Call us: 504-460-2273
HomeCharactersPhoto GalleryBooking/ Contact Us


Marie Laveau
1801-1881
hairdresser, 
social activist, 
healer
Roster of Louisiana History Alive Characters
More than merely actors in costume, these award-winning performers become the people they portray. They conduct their own extensive research and learn from local historians and docents of historic homes and museums in the French Quarter to become experts on social history of Louisiana. By interacting directly with the public they create intimate first-person theatrical experiences with their audience and convey "a day in the life" of Creoles, Americans, and Free People of Color.
Baroness Pontalba
1795-1874
urban developer of Jackson Square and Pontalba apartments
Daughter of Don Andres Almonaster y Rojas, the  Baroness Pontalba was married-off at a young age to  the French family of Pontalba. Extorting her fortune, her father-in-law shot her  three times, which she survived with the help  of her young husband. Soon after she left the  Pontalba family and returned to New Orleans  to claim her own inheritance. She commissioned the building of the Pontalba  Apartments and developed the Place  d’Armes from a military ground to the beautiful park we know as Jackson Square.
Born in Saint Domingue (now Haiti), Audubon set off on an epic quest to paint ALL the birds of America. He painted 435, half the indigenous species of the new country. His life-size, highly dramatic bird portraits, along with detailed descriptions of wilderness life, inspired the Audubon Society to honor his name.
Jean Lafitte
1780-1825
gentleman privateer
Called buccaneer, King of Barataria, Terror of the Gulf, and Hero of New Orleans, Jean Lafitte was dreaded for his piracy in the Gulf of Mexico and lauded for his heroism in the Battle of New Orleans. As he saw it, he was a "privateer" serving an economic purpose in a frugal time in a new country. Countless books have been written about his adventures, and even Lord Byron sketched a poem. A national park is named after him, and downriver from New Orleans sits the City of Jean Lafitte.
At the age of 17, Bienville journeyed with his brother Iberville to establish a colony in the Louisiana territory. Bienville located a crescent-shaped bend in the Mississippi River that he thought was safe from hurricane and invasion, later to be known as Nouvelle-Orleans.
Storyville's pre-eminent demimondaine, Josie Arlington was the proprietress of The Arlington, "absolutely and unquestionably the most decorative and costly fitted-out Sporting Palace ever placed before the American Public."  Her 20-year partnership with state legislator Tom Anderson cemented her position as one of the wealthiest and most successful business owners in New Orleans, one of the most financially and politically powerful women of her time, and one of the most colorful figures in the notorious red-light district.
A devout Catholic and practitioner of the Voudon religion, Ange-Marie Glapion (aka Marie Leveau or the Widow Paris) was also a prominent hair dresser and herbal healer. She tended many of the city's prisoners and worked to abolish public executions in Jackson Square.
Josie Arlington
1864-1914
Storyville madam
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville
1680-1767
explorer, founder of New Orleans,  4-time governor of Louisiana territory
John James Audubon
1785-1851
naturalist painter

Jules Lion
1809-1866
daguerrotype artist, 
lithographer
Mme. Elisabeth Begue
1831-1906
restaurateur,
inventor of brunch
Ven. Mother Henriette Delille
1812-1862
founder and Mother Superior of 
the Sisters of the Holy Family
Adelina Patti
1843-1919
coloratura soprano, opera diva
Margaret Haughery
1813-1882
baker, businesswoman, "Mother to the Orphans"
Andrew Jackson
1767-1845
Hero of the Battle of New 
Orleans,  7th U.S. President
George Devol
1829-1903
riverboat gambler,
raconteur
In the second half of the 1800s, Elizabeth Kettenring Begue's kitchen was abuzz. Together with her butcher husband, Gaston, she ran Begue’s restaurant, known nationwide for Creole cuisine and “second breakfast", a tradition now called "brunch".
Born in Paris, Lion was a skilled painter and lithographer, before turning his hand to the nascent field of photography. He was the first African American to open a daguerrotype studio in New Orleans, in 1840, just one year after the invention of the process. Lion was also known for a series of lithographs of people connected to Louisiana history, including John James Audubon and Andrew Jackson.
Arriving from Ireland during a notorious New Orleans yellow fever epidemic, Margaret quickly lost her husband and newborn son to the disease. Despite her inability to read or write, she possessed an extraordinary business sense and built a thriving “Steam Bakery” from which she provided for a great many orphans, fed the poor, and cared for prisoners. Her monument is located in the 1100 block of Prytania Street.
A notoriously successful gambler and larger-than-life personality, George Devol was known far and wide for his quick wit, strict sobriety, and unwillingness to run from a fight. Travelling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, Devol gambled on riverboats during the golden age of the paddlewheel steamers. His memoir, "Thirty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi", vividly recounts his adventures.
Other historic characters include: 
 Jazz legend Lorenzo Tio,  Journalist Dorothy Dix, Suffragette Elizabeth Lyle Saxon, Landscape Architect J.C. Olmsted, President Thomas Jefferson... we can even create a special character for your event- please inquire! 
Seasonal  Characters:
Papa Noel
A blend of 18th and 19th century Creole, French and Cajun cultures, Papa Noel represents the traditional Louisiana bayou version of Santa Claus. 
St. Nicholas
 Turkish Bishop and early Christian Saint who became the model for Santa Claus.
Character Suites
Booking for a themed event or professional group? Match our history to your interests with these suggested combinations of characters...
-SAINTS-
(No, not those Saints-) These social activists, philanthropists, and yes, even an actual saint-to-be will enrich your event with their tales of victory and inspiration.

Marie Laveau
Margaret Haughery 
Ven. Mother Henriette deLille

-SINNERS-
New Orleans has always had a healthy relationship with its vices. Add a little spice to your party by inviting some of the most notorious figures from Louisiana's past: 

Jean Lafitte 
Josie Arlington 
George Devol
-Women Who Mean Business-
Before the suffrage movement, before women's lib, these ladies proved themselves some of the savviest and most successful entrepreneurs in the country.

 Mme Elisabeth Begue
The Baroness de Pontalba
Josie Arlington
Dr. Elizabeth Magnus Cohen
Margaret Haughery

-Gens de Couleur Libre-
During the nineteenth century, New Orleans had a vibrant and successful professional class of free people of color. Learn of their successes and struggles as they bring to life this often-overlooked period in history.

Jules Lion
Marie Laveau 
Ven. Mother Henriette deLille
Lt. Gov. C.C. Antoine

-Muses-
Even today New Orleans remains a hub for music and the arts. Meet the legendary figures who were inspired by the city and called it home.

Adelina Patti
Jules Lion
John James Audubon
Lorenzo Tio
-Political Powerhouses-
New Orleans has long been a player in national and international politics, often due to the larger-than-life personalities of the politicians themselves. Rub elbows with the movers and shakers who put New Orleans on the map. (Literally!)

Gov. Bienville
Andrew Jackson
The Baroness de Pontalba
Lt. Gov. C.C. Antoine
Lt. Gov. C. C. Antoine
1836-1921
Louisiana State senator,  Lieutenant Governor, Vice President of the Comite des Citoyens 
Dr. Elizabeth Magnus Cohen, M.D.
1820-1921
First woman certified as a surgeon in the state of Louisiana