Voodoo is a belief system that originated from African slaves. New Orleans was the first city in the United States that voodoo was brought to and it is a huge part of New Orleans culture and the city’s originality. It is often associated with the misconception that it’s strictly an evil practice that only involves poking pins into a handmade doll to exercise revenge against an enemy. But, actually Voodoo is a path to spirituality much like other religious belief systems. Voodoo was practiced by the slaves like everything else, mainly for a sense of community and escape from their reality of being forced into servitude when they were originally promised freedom. A great place to visit if you would like to learn more in-depth history about Voodoo, check out Island of Salvation Botanica on St. Claude or the Voodoo Spiritual Temple on North Rampart
Have you ever heard of Marie Laveau? She was a voodoo queen of New Orleans in the early 1800s. You may have seen her as a character in American Horror Story: Coven. Her character was pretty accurately portrayed; she was a hairdresser and she did become the Voodoo Queen and She was infamous for performing countless rituals, exorcisms, and incorporating her Catholic beliefs into her practices. You can actually stop by and visit her tomb at the St. Louis Cemetery on Basin Street. You can read a little more about Marie Laveau’s tomb here:
Much like our exotic dishes, buildings, and music, voodoo continues to be embedded in our culture. Our most popular music festival is called the Voodoo music experience http://worshipthemusic.com . As kids, my friends and I use to make the dolls out of yarn instead of playing with barbie dolls- #awesomechildhood. It’s everywhere.
Voodoo adds to our mysterious persona and distinguishes us from other places in the world. Do some the rituals and practices work? Who really knows..? But hey, you might be able to pick up a Voodoo ritual book to help you try to gain some good pole ju-ju.