Art: Remembered Queen

In a one-story cottage in New Orleans in 1837 two strange figures faced one another. One was George Catlin, painter of Indians, contemporary and counterpart of famed Bird-Painter John James Audubon. For five years he had been living with Amerindians, studying their languages and ways, painting a comprehensive collection of Indian studies most of which are now in Washington's National Museum.

The other figure was a buxom octoroon woman in her 30's, wearing a high white turbanish mobcap, a bright embroidered shawl and a black silk dress. She was famed Marie Leveau,...

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