Aretha was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her parents, Jean-Claude and Ophelia Leveau, were both muggles, who owned a bistro which specialised in French-Creole cuisine. Her parents were not wealthy or very well educated, but were both self-made, and understood the importance of hard work, elbow grease and determination in order to achieve one's goals. When Aretha was born, they began instilling these values in her, to remember for whatever she did.
Aretha was a difficult child. She was curious, argumentative and hot-headed. She'd argue with other kids in kindergarten about small things that they did, and would end up getting into quite a bit of trouble. Ophelia and Jean-Claude were both bemused by this behaviour, joking that it was her nature to argue. So they became used to it. However, when an argument during a school trip to the backwaters resulted in a boy being 'pushed' into the swamp, Aretha's parents became worried. She'd never been violent, and she wasn't a strong girl. That, and she claimed to have never touched the boy. Her parents were shocked, as Aretha wouldn't lie, but the evidence seemed to be too convincing to ignore. They were worried. What they didn't know was that Aretha had just performed her first act of magic.
Aretha's parents found out that she had magic when the family puppy was found levitating, upside down in mid air, with a nine year old Aretha clapping excitedly and running around in circles with joy. They vowed to never speak of it again, with Jean-Claude, whose father had been a pastor, thinking there was something devilish going on. It was not until they received the acceptance letter into Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that they realised magic was the cause of her strangeness. At first they were shellshocked, and Ophelia was able to trace back her family lineage and realised that her great grandmother on her maternal side had been a voodoo witch, and that it was not a scary story, but in fact, it was truth. Ophelia and Jean Claude looked past their fears, realising how great an opportunity this was, so they sent her to Massechusetts, where she could learn how to cultivate her magic.
Aretha was afraid of moving away from Louisiana at first. She loved home, she loved the bayou, her parents, the easy lifestyle. The thought of moving to a cold stone castle surrounded by mist, mountains and perpetual coldness and people she didn't know was frightful. But, she had to do it. So she packed her stuff up and moved North-West to Mount Greylock. When she was being sorted, she stepped onto the Gordian Knot and waited. She thought she was going to be laughed at - with her prominent southern accent and her shabby looking robes (her parents couldn't really afford anything new). She thought the four houses would all remain silent, and no house would choose her. She imagined the horror, the shame and the disappointment. She imagined being escorted out of the school, and being flown back to Louisiana. Until it all changed. She stepped on, and there was a pause, before the jewel on the head of the Horned Serpent glowed. This was followed by the beating of the Thunderbird's wings and the Wampus Cat's roar. The Pukwudgie did not raise it's arrow, rightly so, but Aretha found herself being asked by the headteacher to choose, at her own liberty, which out of the three houses, she wanted to be a part of. Aretha knew that Wampus favoured warriors and represented the body. She knew that Thunderbird favoured the adventurers and represented the soul, and the Serpent favoured the scholar, and represented the mind. She wanted to be in all three, but it eventually came down to a choice between Thunderbird and Horned Serpent. Eventually, she chose the Horned Serpent, deciding that all the adventures in the world would be fruitless without proper understanding and knowledge of the world.
Aretha surpassed all expectations, coming out of school with top marks, a keen mind and a desire to pursue law. She went and studied in law at Princeton University, before moving to London, to work as a criminal lawyer there, and get a conversion course for British Law at University College of London (UCL). It was there, when Aretha met her to be husband, Joaquin Harkness, another wizarding Lawyer. Joaquin was smart, charismatic and funny - too good for the cutthroat world of Law. He brought out a softer and more vulnerable side to her, and she hasn't stopped loving him ever since.
Today, Aretha can mainly be found in courtrooms. Her speciality is murder and homicide, but she does also excel in family law.