The coven is known to practice ancestral magic, by which they draw power from their dead ancestors who are buried at Lafayette Cemetery. Since their ancestors' remains are the source of their power, the New Orleans coven cannot leave the city, or they would be abandoning their legacy. If a New Orleans witch did leave the city, it would result in the witch being cut off from his or her magic. Members of this coven lured the Original vampires back to New Orleans in hopes that they would help the witches take control of the city away from Marcel Gerard, who had a secret weapon that allowed him to restrict the use of magic in the city. It was later revealed that the witches weren't just trying to take down Marcel, but were also trying to regain possession of Davina, so they could finally finish the Harvest ritual.
The power of ancestral magic is dependent on a ritual known as the Harvest, which must be performed every three centuries in order to strengthen the coven's link to their witch ancestors by appeasing them with an offering. The ritual calls for four teenage girls to be ritually sacrificed in offering to their ancestors in the first step in the ritual. Then, when the second step, the Reaping, is completed, the four girls are reborn, and with their resurrection, the witch community would have access to the full power of the Harvest. Eight months prior to the start of The Originals series, four teenage girls in the coven were chosen for the honor of being part of the Harvest: Davina, Monique, Abigail, and Cassie. The girls were told by the Elders that during the Harvest, they would be put in a state of peaceful limbo until the Reaping, where they would be awoken and rewarded by being granted even more magical power. However, as Davina admitted to Elijah, unless the Harvest is completed, they cannot complete the Reaping, and once the allotted time has passed, the New Orleans witches will lose their magic.
However, there were many skeptical witches and community members who were convinced that the Harvest was just a legend, including Sophie Deveraux, Father Kieran, and Marcel. These members made their disagreement with their plans well known, but the New Orleans witches continued to plan for their ritual, and cursed Father Kieran's nephew in order to keep him too preoccupied to interfere. Unbeknownst to them, Father Kieran was still able to warn Marcel and begged him to stop the Harvest before any of the girls were killed. The ritual began at nightfall without a hitch, until it became time for the blood sacrifice. According to Davina, the Harvest girls were told they would only be required to have a small cut on their palms, and that the magic in the knife would put them into a deep sleep. But, when Abigail stepped forward for the blood sacrifice, Bastianna, the Elder performing the ritual, killed Abigail by slitting her throat. The three remaining girls became terrified, and were restrained by witches in the coven so they couldn't run away. Bastianna was able to sacrifice one more girl, Cassie, before Marcel and his vampires showed up to stop the ritual. Bastianna was killed by one of Marcel's vampires, but Agnes was able to grab the knife and kill Monique in the chaos. The majority of the coven was killed in the fight, but Marcel was able to whisk Davina away to safety, leaving the Harvest ritual uncompleted. Marcel was able to take advantage of Davina's anger towards the witches as a result of being lied to and betrayed. By using her ability to tell when the New Orleans witches were doing magic, Marcel was able to restrict the witches' use of magic by killing witch who broke his rules.
Davina refused to give herself up, in hopes that if she was able to just hold out long enough, eventually she and all the witches would lose their magic and she could live a normal life. However, after the negative side effects of not completing the Harvest were made known in the form of powerful earthquakes, strong winds, torrential rain, and wildfires, Davina finally decided to allow Sophie to complete the Harvest by sacrificing herself, as she felt it would be selfish of her to allow others to be hurt because of her. Sophie was able to make herself an Elder to complete the ritual by consecrating Esther's body and absorbing her power, much to Rebekah, Elijah, and Klaus' reluctance. Unfortunately, when Sophie sacrificed Davina and completed the Reaping, she, the Mikaelsons', and Hayley were horrified to find that the girls were not being resurrected, and realized that something had gone very wrong. Sophie and Rebekah both suggested that somehow the magic of the Harvest ritual was hijacked, which ended up being correct-- Celeste Dubois, a powerful dark witch and former lover of Elijah, who, unbeknownst to anyone, had been inhabiting Sabine's body, had indeed hijacked the power to resurrect three witches known to hate the Originals and vampires in general (Genevieve, Papa Tunde, and Bastianna).
Since Davina had been sacrificed and was currently dead/in limbo, Marcel had no way of monitoring and restricting the use of magic in the Quarter, and the witches took advantage of this by beginning to rebuild their coven and establish the New Orleans witches as a force to be reckoned with. Their first order of business was punishing Father Kieran for his part in interfering with the Harvest, which Bastianna accomplished by hexing him with the same hex that caused his nephew Sean to lose his mind and commit mass murder-suicide. Then, the newly-resurrected Papa Tunde began using his sacrificial magic to desiccate vampires with his touch, killing them and absorbing their magic to make him even stronger. He was able to use this method on Rebekah as well, although it did not kill her; instead, it just desiccated her and allowed her to become a limitless source of power for Papa Tunde, which he intended to use to take down Klaus, in revenge for him killing him and his sons in 1919. Unfortunately for him, Klaus was able to overpower him once Papa Tunde's connection to Rebekah's power was broken, and Papa Tunde fled to avoid death at his hands once again. Instead, he went to the Garden, where he sacrificed the dozens of vampires entombed there who had broken Marcel's rules. All of the magical power that Papa Tunde had harvested from the many vampires he killed was channeled into his bone blade, which he gave to Celeste to sacrifice him as the "final offering" in their plan. Once he was killed, his power was also channeled into the blade, creating a weapon that would cause untold pain and torment to anyone stabbed with it, even an Original.
The next phase of Celeste's plan was to punish Elijah for always choosing Klaus and his family over everyone else, including herself-- in 1821, Klaus told the authorities that the witches were sacrificing humans to fuel their magic, which resulted in Celeste being killed. While Celeste's death hurt Elijah deeply, she did not truly die, and instead began using her dark magic to inhabit the bodies of various female witches in the New Orleans coven over the centuries, including Clara Summerlin, Annie La Fleur, Philomena, Sabine Laurent, and Brynne Deveraux. While still in Sabine's body, Celeste orchestrated the capture of Klaus (who was stabbed with Papa Tunde's blade by Sophie) and Rebekah (who was viciously attacked by werewolves on the full moon) to torture them in an effort to hurt Elijah. She sent Monique to cast a Devinette spell on Elijah, which tattooed the names of every female witch that Celeste had possessed since her first death in a riddle that Elijah needed to solve to save his siblings. He eventually figured out, with Marcel's help, that Rebekah and Klaus were being held at the Fleur-de-Lis Sanitorium, where Genevieve enacted her part of the plan. Genevieve sought to get revenge on Rebekah for pretending to be her friend and killing her in 1919, and did so by linking Rebekah's memories to Klaus's mind. By doing so, Klaus was finally informed that it was Rebekah and Marcel who had summoned Mikael to New Orleans, in hopes that Mikael would chase Klaus out of town and leave Rebekah and Marcel to live happily ever after. Klaus became so enraged by this revelation that he attempted to stab Rebekah with Papa Tunde's blade, which was eventually turned onto himself by Elijah to protect her.
That night, Hayley snuck up on Celeste and knocked her out before bringing her back to the bayou and forcing her to undo the curse she cast on the Crescent wolves while she was inhabiting Brynne Deveraux. Celeste showed uncharacteristic kindness by helping Hayley by making a potion to undo the curse, and took pleasure in taunting Elijah about how Hayley leaving him and Klaus and living with the wolves would be the best thing that happened to her. Knowing that her cover was fully blown, Celeste slit Sabine's throat so she could die and Celeste could jump into another body, but she wasn't aware that Monique, using a spell from Esther's grimoire, given to her by Elijah, had ensured that Celeste would forced to return to her own body. Though she begged Elijah to show her mercy, he killed her using Papa Tunde's blade, and because of Monique's spell, she was unable to come back to life. Her death, as well as Bastianna's (at Marcel's hand) caused both Davina and Abigail to be resurrected, leaving only Cassie still in limbo. Davina revealed to Cami that while she was in limbo, the ancestors tormented her in punishment for turning against her own and working with Marcel, and threatened to do horrible things to her if she misused her magic again.
With nearly all of the Harvest girls resurrected, Genevieve took advantage of the chaos left in Celeste's wake and named herself the new leader of the coven, despite the fact that Genevieve being alive meant that Cassie could not be resurrected. She began teaching Monique, Davina, and Abigail how to seriously use their magic, and was chosen by Elijah to act as the Witch Faction Representative in the newly-reformed New Orleans Faction. She and Diego, the new leader of the Vampire Faction, was called in for a meeting with Father Kieran (leader of the Human Faction) and Elijah, who had taken Klaus' role as the leader of New Orleans, as well as the representative for the Original vampires. Genevieve and Diego were not happy to see that Hayley had interrupted their meeting to insist that the werewolves be included, but after Klaus also plead the werewolves' case, and an impassioned speech from Hayley about the importance of unity in the supernatural community, Elijah decided to finally allow the werewolves to enter negotiations. After some discussion, the representatives of the five factions finally signed a new peace treaty: Genevieve (witches), Diego (vampires), Hayley (werewolves), Francesca (humans, replacing Kieran when his hex overcame his mental faculties) and both Elijah and Klaus (Original vampires).
Taking advantage of the new peace in the city, Genevieve managed to convince Elijah to allow the witches to celebrate La Fête de Bénédictions, a traditional feast day in which the community gives the witches gifts in exchange for blessings. Genevieve intended to use the feast as a way to introduce the Harvest girls into society. The day of the party, Monique, Davina, and Abigail were in the cemetery, doing a spell to commune with the ancestors, when the ancestors took control of Monique and gave the three a message: Genevieve was to be killed, so that Cassie would be resurrected and the witch community could finally have full access to the power of the Harvest ritual. When Genevieve was informed of the ancestors' message, she insisted that she had every intention of sacrificing herself for the benefit of the coven. However, since she was enjoying being alive again, she tried to buy herself more time by claiming that she wanted to steal Esther's grimoire from the Mikaelson compound, because she was a powerful witch whose spells could empower the coven even more. Satisfied, the coven allowed her to stay alive to fulfill this offer, and Genevieve planned to send a witch into the Mikaelson compound during the feast to steal it, while the Mikaelsons were all away from the house. Unfortunately for her, Klaus suspected that she would try to do this, and caught the witch before he could take the spell book.
At the feast, Monique confessed to Genevieve that she believed Davina to be unworthy of the honor of being a Harvest girl, because Monique didn't think Davina had sacrificed enough for the witches' cause. The two decided to teach Davina a lesson by not allowing any of the community members to give Davina any offerings. Upset, Davina met up with her best friend Josh, and was about to leave when she was intercepted by Klaus. Klaus felt bad for how the witches were treating Davina, and, wanting to earn her favor, gave her a gift to show his appreciation for her. When she opened it, she found a lapis lazuli ring and the daylight ring spell from Esther's grimoire, which she used to make Josh a daylight ring. The party was completely ruined shortly afterward, when Marcel, who was exiled from the Quarter and not keen to follow the peace treaty, sent a group of compelled tribal drummers into the feast, where they all slit their wrists and baited the vampires in attendance to feed on them to death. Dozens of party attendees were killed, and the tensions between factions grew even more intense. The coven met with Genevieve afterward to voice their displeasure with her failure to obtain Esther's grimoire. Monique insisted that she needed to be sacrificed, because Marcel's attack further proved that they needed the full power of the Harvest to fight against the vampires. Right before Monique was about to kill her, the ancestors took control of her once more, and stated that they would allow Genevieve to keep her life, on one condition: the ancestors wanted another offering in her place, one that they chose themselves - Hayley and Klaus' baby, who had not yet been born. Though Genevieve was not happy about the fact that she was ordered to kill a baby, she was desperate to stay alive, and agreed to the ancestors' terms.
Genevieve's plan was to continue to get close to the Mikaelsons, and Klaus in particular, so that she could keep an eye on Hayley and take her when she had the opportunity. However, Monique was not satisfied by Genevieve's efforts, and decided to take matters into her own hands by following Hayley, and using a poppet to represent her in a spell to kill her (and, by proxy, the baby). The next day, Hayley had developed a cough, and eventually began coughing up blood and collapsing at Father Kieran's funeral. Genevieve was there when she collapsed, and followed Klaus and Elijah to the Mikaelson compound, with Hayley in their arms. Elijah was hesitant to allow her to help, but Klaus argued that Genevieve was a nurse, which eventually convinced him to allow her to try to heal her. While Genevieve performed a spell to reveal what was wrong with Hayley, Hayley's spirit was sent to the Other Side, where she encountered Mikael and was forced to fight him off. Genevieve's spell eventually gave her a vision that informed her that Monique had cast a spell on her, and was finally able to reverse the spell, saving both Hayley and the baby's life. When Genevieve returned home, she found Monique and yelled at her for interfering in her plan. Monique argued that she was just trying to fulfill the ancestors' orders, but Genevieve pointed out that since the baby is part-witch, the ancestors need her to consecrate her remains so that her magic can fuel the coven's power, which means that the baby has to be born before she can die. After Monique stormed off, Genevieve returned to Lafayette Cemetery and begged the ancestors not to make her a monster by forcing her to kill an innocent baby. In response, the ancestors used their power to cause Genevieve to start bleeding from the eyes and nose before they telekinetically threw her against several tombs. Scared and in pain, Genevieve finally agreed to do what they wanted, and they let her live to complete her obligation.
Klaus and Elijah got Genevieve to agree to make the moonlight rings for Hayley and the Crescent wolves, so they would no longer be forced to turn every full moon, and would be able to use all of their powers at all times. Genevieve used three different spells from Esther's grimoire to make the moonlight rings, and used Klaus' blood as an energy source to control the wolves' transformation. Unbeknownst to them, Genevieve had also made a deal with Francesca Correa, who had provided the Mikaelsons with the stones after Marcel destroyed the ones they had before. The terms of Genevieve and Francesca's agreement were as follows: Genevieve would give Francesca the enchanted stones, once they were created, instead of giving them to the Crescents, and in return, Francesca would allow Genevieve to take Hayley captive until the baby was born and kill the baby. Once in possession of the stones, Francesca revealed to Hayley that she and her many brothers were actually untriggered Guerrera werewolves, a bloodline that was thought to have been completely eradicated by Marcel back in the 1920s. She and her brothers had been pretending to be humans until they had the means to control their transformation, and once they each had a moonlight stone, they all killed their human bodyguards, which triggered their werewolf genes. Since Genevieve had used Klaus' blood as a power source (unbeknowst to Klaus), the werewolves who had moonlight stones were drawing on Klaus' strength to control their transformations, which weakened him so much that he was unable to retaliate against the Correa/Guerrera werewolves or the witches until the full moon was over.
The witches took Hayley, who fought back so hard that she unintentionally caused a placental abruption, which sent Hayley into labor early. Unable to make it to the cemetery, they instead took her to St. Anne's Church, where Genevieve assisted Hayley through labor and helped her deliver Hayley and Klaus' baby girl. Klaus heard Hayley's pained cries and found her at the church, but Klaus' weakened state, combined with Abigail and Monique's intense magical power from the Harvest, left him unable to fight back as they pinned him to a wall, forcing him to watch helplessly as his first child was born. Hayley begged Genevieve to allow her to hold her baby, so Genevieve handed the baby over. Hayley was in awe at her child, and looked up at Klaus with affection, just as Monique pulled her head back and slit Hayley's throat. Klaus was devastated, and could only watch as Hayley bled out and died right in front of him. Genevieve took the baby back from Hayley and left with the girls, and once they were gone, Klaus was finally released from the spell.
The baby was taken to the cemetery, where they planned to sacrifice her just as the full moon set in the morning sky. When Genevieve left to prepare, Monique confessed to Abigail that she didn't think it was fair that their friend and fellow Harvest girl, Cassie, had to stay dead just because Genevieve's friend brought her back instead. The two agreed that they hope she would be unable to bring herself to kill the baby, so Monique and Abigail would be allowed to kill Genevieve and Cassie would finally be resurrected. Klaus and Elijah began searching the cemetery, knowing that the sacrifice would have to be done there, but quickly realized that the witches had cast a powerful illusion spell that caused Klaus and Elijah to wander around in circles. While they were continuing to search, Hayley awoke at the church in transition, after being killed while her baby's hybrid blood was still in her system. She eventually found Klaus and Elijah in the cemetery, both of whom were both relieved and scared at Hayley being in transition, knowing that she would need the baby's blood to complete the transition. Because Hayley needed the baby's blood, she had a supernatural sense that allowed Hayley to feel where she was, and the three used that ability to finally find the altar where Genevieve, Monique, and Abigail were about to sacrifice the baby.
Once the witches saw the three approaching them, Monique and Abigail linked hands and used their combined magic to prevent them from coming any closer. They informed the vampire and hybrids that they weren't just facing the power of three witches, but that of every single witch who had died in the history of New Orleans and was buried on New Orleans soil. Elijah, Klaus, and Hayley split up in an effort to stop them from sacrificing their child, and Klaus was able to break their connection to their ancestors' magic by throwing a pike at Abigail, impaling her and killing her on impact. Hayley was violently fighting Genevieve, with little success, while Monique quickly grabbed the knife and prepared to sacrifice the child herself. Before she was able to do so, Marcel arrived out of nowhere and killed Monique with the Devil's Star, breaking his cardinal rule about hurting children in order to save Klaus and Hayley's baby.
With both Monique and Abigail dead, Hayley and Elijah were easily able to chain Genevieve up in a tomb and question her on why she did what she did. She confessed that she was only following orders, and revealed that Esther, who had become a New Orleans witch upon being consecrated by Sophie, had given the final order to sacrifice their child. Hayley and Elijah are both sickened by Esther's unwavering commitment to killing her own flesh and blood, and Genevieve insinuates that Esther is now the leader of the ancestors, and promises that because she decreed that the baby will die, the New Orleans witches have no choice but to obey, and as long as the child lives, the witches will continue to come for her until she has been sacrificed and consecrated with her ancestors. The ancestors start to kill Genevieve again by causing her eyes and nose to bleed, but Hayley sped up the process by angrily stabbing her in the stomach.
After the events of From a Cradle to a Grave, it was suggested that Esther was resurrected in Cassie's body after Genevieve's death, as well as Esther's son (and Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah's brother), Finn, who was inhabiting a witch named Vincent's body. It was seen in that episode that only a few members still remain after the death of the harvest girls and Genevieve.
- The New Orleans Coven is the largest coven seen so far, with dozens of members of various ages and from various families and bloodlines.
- There appear to be different factions within the coven, each with their own differing views and agendas, as evidenced by Sophie and several other witches believing that the Harvest was nothing more than a legend, such as Noah's Ark.
- In the first modern-day attempt at the Harvest, Bastianna sacrificed Abigail and Cassie, while Agnes sacrificed Sophie's niece Monique. Davina was saved from being sacrificed by Marcel, but gave herself up one year later so the Harvest could be completed.
- There are two steps to the Harvest ritual; the Harvest, and the Reaping.
- To date, two members of this coven have been killed by an Original. Katie was killed by Klaus and Agnes was killed by Elijah.
- According to Celeste (posing as Sabine), Elders are the only witches in their coven who can complete certain spells, including the the Harvest, which they needed to access the additional power their ancestors could provide. When Agnes died, they were sure that they would not be able to complete the Harvest, until Sophie learned that there was another way-- whichever witch could consecrate the remains of the most powerful witch would be bestowed the powers of an Elder. When Sophie consecrated the remains of Esther, a powerful dark witch, she became an Elder of the coven.
- Davina defected from the coven after the first attempt at the Harvest. She then returned to the coven in Long Way Back From Hell.
- Esther is now a New Orleans witch, since her remains were buried and consecrated on New Orleans soil, and her powers were absorbed by Esther's only living offspring (Hayley and Klaus' unborn daughter) and channeled by Sophie to give herself the powers of an Elder.
- Hope Mikaelson is now also part New Orleans witch.
- The consequences of not completing the Harvest corresponded with the four stages elements used in performing the Harvest. The first element is earth, which is also the first and weakest stage, by manifesting in two ways: first, the remaining Harvest girl (Davina) began throwing up dirt, and second, the city began experiencing powerful earthquakes. The next element is air, which is stronger, by manifesting as extremely strong gusts of winds that can become as destructive as a tornado. The third element is water, which is even stronger still, by manifesting as a torrential downpour of rain that can flood the entire city. The remaining witch also begins to throw up water. The final and most powerful element is fire, which manifests as flames that begin near the remaining witch, and that eventually begin to consume anything around it, unless it is stopped by the completion of the Harvest ritual.
- It was revealed that Celeste, while in Brynne Deveraux's body, was the witch responsible for cursing the Crescent werewolves. Brynne is a member of the Deveraux Family, and it was mentioned by Sophie that it was her bloodline that originally cursed the Crescent wolves. It is possible that Sophie had no idea that Celeste was inhabiting her relative's body, nor did she know that Celeste had been possessing Sabine, as well.
- Genevieve named herself as leader of the coven after the deaths of Celeste, Bastianna, and Papa Tunde, and told Marcel that it was because she felt that the witches of this coven lacked direction. She also voiced displeasure to her coven about how, when she was dead, she was forced to watch as witches slowly gave up all of their power to the vampires, and insisted that their coven needed to empower themselves to give their community the power to choose their own fate.
- Now that the Harvest has been completed, it can be assumed that the coven will be powerful than ever. However, it is unknown what effect, if any, the deaths of two of the Harvest girls (Monique and Abigail) will have on the coven's access to power-- Monique often emphasized that Genevieve needed to die in order to resurrect Cassie and gain full access to the power of the Harvest, suggesting that the Harvest girls needed to all be alive in order to access the power.
- In From a Cradle to a Grave, was revealed that Esther was the ancestor who ordered the witches to kill her granddaughter, and is presumably now leading the New Orleans ancestors. It was also insinuated that Esther had brought herself back to life in Cassie's body, suggesting that she has more plans to try to kill her children and granddaughter once, and for all.
- It is believed that Kol Mikaelson is popular with the New Orleans witches as he mentioned traveling with them and that he holds witches in high esteem.
- As the members of the New Orleans Coven are consecrated to New Orleans ground, they do not go to the Other Side, and are therefore unaffected by its collapse.