|“|| Sophie: We need an Elder to do it, right? I figured out a way how to become one.
Sabine: Soph, you can't just become an Elder. That power has to be bestowed upon you by the other Elders, all of whom are dead. Are you following my logic?
Sophie: How about follow your history. I did research. In 1742, there was a witch massacre that wiped out all the Elders. So, they decided whoever consecrated the most powerful dead witch in the community became an Elder.
An Elder is a senior member of authority in the New Orleans Witch Community. They are considered leaders of their individual Covens and are regularly called forth to guide other regular witches as they possess vast power, skill, and knowledge and are shown to be extremely loyal to the Ancestors.
Typically, to become an Elder, that power is bestowed upon a witch by the other Elders. However, if there are no living Elders around, a witch can become an Elder by consecrating the remains of a powerful deceased witch of their community and absorbing their power.
Throughout The Originals Series
The witches of New Orleans are forced to live as outcasts in their city by the vampire Marcel, who has appropriated the city proclaiming himself king of New Orleans. We find that less than a year before the Elders of the French Quarter Coven have voted to perform the The Harvest ritual, choosing four girls in their community to sacrifice in order to re-establish a connection with their Ancestors. When Sophie revealed the plans of the coven to Father Kieran, hoping to put an end to the sacrifice, her sister Jane-Anne and the Elders Bastianna Natale and Agnes had an altercation with the priest, the only ally of the witches left in the city, explaining to him the reasons behind the Harvest. To get rid of him, Agnes cursed Sean O'Connell, nephew of the priest, magically making him insane. This caused a great diversion that kept Kieran busy, thus giving the opportunity to the witches to continue with their plans. Unfortunately, the Harvest was interrupted by vampires led by Marcel, a last resort that Sophie had to stop the sacrifice of the girls, and many of the Elders, including Bastianna, were killed. Decimated and with less power than ever before, the witches of the French Quarter drew the Mikaelsons back to the Crescent City, blackmailing them with the unborn child of Klaus, using the werewolf Hayley as bait and then as a bargaining chip. Agnes, the last Elder remained alive after the massacre led by Marcel during the Harvest, was killed by Elijah after the woman attempted to kill Hayley and the unborn child, since one of the witches had a premonition that the child would have been the death of all witches. Totally hopeless and a step away from losing forever the link with the Ancestors, Sophie takes command of the coven, blackmailing Hayley so the wolf girl reveals to her the burial place of Céleste Dubois, a powerful witch who was also the lover of Elijah in the past, by searching the place in one of Elijah's journals. Sophie was in fact willing to consecrate the bones of the old witch, thus becoming an Elder herself, as she explained to her fellow witch Sabine. The plan did not work and when Davina, the only survivor of the sacrifice, began to show symptoms of decay dictated by vengeance of the Ancestors, the Mikaelson are forced to cede to the New Orleans' soil the remains of their mother, adding her magic to the pool of Ancestral Magic. Even this plan, however, fails, because Sabine Laurent intercepts the magic power before the four girls can be revived, directing that energy into other bodies, resurrecting three Elders of her choice, and not just witches, but three of the most powerful French Quarter witches: Papa Tunde, an old enemy of Klaus killed by him during the Thirties; Genevieve, who has a score to settle with Rebekah and then Bastianna. The three witches have the task of separating the Mikaelson, making them harmless, while achieving their revenge. Sabine, which is actually possessed by Céleste, is determined to take revenge on Elijah, because he preferred his family to their love. As the resurrected witches are killed by the Mikaelson in aberrant ways and the respective Harvest Girls come back to live, the only elder witch that survives is Genevieve, with whom they enter into a truce. Sophie was killed by a revived Monique, because her aunt is considered an infidel and traitor to the cause. Genevieve, then, as an Elder, takes control of the French Quarter Coven and instructs the three resurrected girls - Monique, Abigail and Davina - in the Craft. The Ancestors, however, are bloodthirsty and require the sacrifice of the unborn Mikaelson in exchange for the life of Genevieve, so that the fourth Harvest Girl, Cassie, may live again. After the witches assist Hayley during childbirth, Monique slits Hayley's throat and gets away with Abigail and Genevieve for sacrificing the newborn. The ritual is then stopped by the Mikaelson and Marcel and the witches are killed, not before Genevieve warns Hayley and Elijah that Esther is behind the order to kill the baby and that the ancient witch is determined to destroy the Mikaelson family once and for all. The witches of the French Quarter are again forced into hiding, as Hayley is determined to exterminate them as the witches have been ordered to kill the child. Following the death of Genevieve, the magic of the Harvest is refreshed and the fourth girl sacrificed, Cassie, is resurrected. We see her head to the Cemetery along with a man, and both hold out gifts to the tomb of Esther, revealing that the girl is actually Esther herself, incarnated with the intention to kill with her own children with her own hands, while the man is her faithful second-born, Finn.
Esther, under the guise of Cassie, is in command of the witches of New Orleans and makes sure to attract the werewolves on her side by promising them the gift of the Moonlight Rings, which allow the werewolves to control the transformation. Finn, who is in possession of the body of the witch Vincent, acts as the right hand of his mother and is in command of the faction of werewolves loyal to witches. In this period the community of witches starts to restituted and probably also the political roles are restored, creating new elders. While the Mikaelsons, whether they are vampires or witches, fight each other, a more complex hierarchy of the witch community is presented. Throughout the city there are, in fact, nine major covens, distributed in the historical districts of the Crescent City. All nine covens are led by a matriarch, known as The Regent. The current Regent witch is an old rich woman, Josephine LaRue, who is also the owner of Fauline Asylum (where the witches who are mentally ill or degenerated by the wrong use of magic are sent) as well as Elder of the Garden District Coven. Once again, the Mikaelson lead to the breakdown of the witch community's balance when Dahlia, Esther's sister, kills Josephine LaRue as a warning to the community of witches to not interfere with her plans to kidnap Hope. When the war ends with the death of Dahlia, the Elders of the nine covens gather to appoint a new Regent, which can be regarded as the king or queen of the New Orleans witches. The Elders would appoint Vincent Griffith, as the man not only has a great knowledge and power, but is also unrelated to the factions who vie for the city. Vincent, however, supports the candidacy of Davina Claire and the young woman, with a particularly strong and motivating speech, succeeds in convincing the community to be elected as Regent, promising a new era of the witches.
As a new Regent, Davina convene a meeting with the elders of the nine covens of New Orleans in the Lafayette Cemetery, to discuss the new policies to be adopted. One of these, for example, is that witches don't do any kind of favor to vampires and Davina imposed this rule to silence the voices that want her as a supporter of the vampires, given her past. The most difficult to manage, apparently, is the Ninth Ward Coven, which does not accept willingly Davina as Regent. During the meeting, a witch named Kara attends the conference bored until turns her back to Davina, who recalls her saying that she didn't give her permission to go while Kara, after had fractured Davina's wrists with a spell and summoned around Davina a circle of flames, disappears into the crowd. Davina then extinguishes the flames with her powers while the witches looked on their Regent showing weakness. Later, Davina meets Marcel at St. Anne's Church for help and her old mentor says that she had to expect such behavior from covens and suggests her to demonstrate a showdown to the witches who believe her to be weak and not suited for the position of leader. In Out of the Easy, after Davina is revealed to be behind the murder of Kara Nguyen and the eleven other Ninth Ward witches, the Elders angrily call her a traitor and murderer and they make two rows and they shun Davina by turning their backs thus, she has lost her connection to the Ancestors.
- * FQ = French Quarter Coven, GD = Garden District Coven, TC = Tremé Coven, NW = Ninth Ward Coven
- The typical ceremonial outfit for the Elders is grey.
- According to Genevieve, only the Elders can tap and successfully manipulate the Harvest's power in the earth to their will once the Harvest is completed.
- It's likely that the power of the Elders is bestowed upon them by the Ancestors, as the Elders have a unique connection to them, the most direct after the Regent and Harvest Witches.
- Only Elders can do important spells in their coven such as the The Harvest.
- As leader of the nine covens, the Regent holds authority over the Elders.
- The Elders of each of the nine covens are the elective body of the New Orleans witch community. They convene at Lafayette Cemetery to discuss issues concerning the directive of the covens.
- An Elder is elected by the existing pool of Elders.
- A Harvest Witch is elected by the existing pool of French Quarter Elders.
- The Regent is elected by the existing pool of Elders.
- As shown by Genevieve (with Céleste's Magic) and Sophie (with Esther's Magic), Elders do have the power to channel and manipulate the magic of any Ancestor.