New Orleans Voudou (voodoo) is known to be the only Afro-Catholic religion to make way to America. New Orleans Voodoo’s influence was created of not only of the African nations that were the root of Voodoo, but it was also influenced from the New World colonies who had brought African slaves here to America. It is important to remember that in the 1700’s many enslaved Africans were Saint Domingue, Cuba, Brazil, and Louisiana. The Haitian Revolution began in 1791, had significantly the most influence in creating New Orleans Voodoo. The frightening stories of the Revolution that began to heighten to the fear of the Voodoo religion in the white community. The Haitian Revolution began with a Voudou ceremony at Bois-Caiman. A Voodoo priest lead that service it includes sacrificing a pig and a blood oath to overthrow the French. A few days later, slaves rebelling and began to try to kill their masters and slave overseers as well as the white population. The slaves also tried to burn down the sugar plantations in the heat of this. A 1773 documents a case were the slaves tried to kill their masters with gris-gris. Likely, as an influx of Haitian and African slaves began coming to Louisiana and New Orleans, their practices started to blend together. People say their elders passed down what they remembered, and the younger slaves started to use that and the new things they learned abut to create what we know as New Orleans Voodoo.
A huge part of Voodoo practice is making and carrying gris-gris bags. This action is similar to statues, candles, and crosses that Catholics carry. Common practices are praying to “lesser” deities, communing with loa (spirit), place offerings at alters. These secret “uncivilized” practices struck fear amongst white people. Congo Square: It is located in Armstrong Park in the Treme neighborhood. The Congo Square served as a gathering place for enslaved Africans. It was a kept location for African traditions. They were able to express their culture including but not limited to Voodoo. Many hundreds of people gathered and created drum circles and spiritual ceremonies. Even today the location remains open to continue hosting cultural meetings. Voodoo today in New Orleans remains in practice. It is used to serve others and influence life events in connection with ancestors and spirits. Generally, rituals are privately held. Many places now will give you readings and assist in rituals.
The Voodoo Spiritual Temple is the only formally established Voodoo temple in New Orleans. Located across the street of the Congo Square. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum is a great place to stop in the French Quarter (Marie Laveau’s birthplace) to learn about Voodoo history. One of the most heavily involved groups of people in Voodoo is the Creole people. In colonial Louisiana the term “Creole” was used to indicate New World products derived from Old World stock and product and could apply to identify architecture, and food ways. Identity wise, Creole, historically referred to those born in Louisiana during French and Spanish periods regardless of ethnicity. Today, as in the past, transcends of Creole racial bounds. It connects people to their colonial roots, they are being of European decent settlers, enslaved Africans, or those of mixed heritage. Which includes African, French, Spanish, and American Indian influencers. Louisiana has a vast and unique feel to it as many states do. Many faces, personalities, and drams flow through Louisiana every year. From Italians to Senegalese, Filipinos, to Irish, Vietnams and Hungarians each have triumphant stories of catastrophe. Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with (but not separate from) Haitian Voodoo and Southern Hoodoo. It’s different from voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo occult paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi (snaked deity). It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as Gris-gris (a Wolof term) and Voodoo dolls were introduced into the American culture. Voodoo was brought to the French Colony Louisiana through the slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo includes the recognition of one God who doesn’t interfere with the people’s daily lives and spirits. The spiritual forces can be kind of mischievous. It can shape daily life through and intercede in the peoples lives. They connect with the spirits by dancing, music, singing, and using snakes. The use of snakes represents, Legba, Voodoo’s main conduit. The voodoo serpent represents healing knowledge and connection between Heaven and Earth unlike Judeo- Christian. Deceased ancestors can also intercede in the lives of Voodoo followers. The main purpose of Louisiana Voodoo today is serving and influencing life events through connections with nature, spirits, and ancestors. Rituals are held in private, as rituals that are seen are considered disrespectful to spirits. Methods include readings, spiritual baths, specially devised diets, prayer, and used to cure anxiety, addictions, depression, loneliness, and other ailments. Voodoo seeks to help the hungry, the poor, and the sick as Marie Laveau previously did.
Marie Laveau was the queen of New Orleans Voodoo. She was a free person of color living in the most colorful city, New Orleans. An article was written in The New Orleans Times Picayune in April of 1886. They adoringly remembered Marie Laveau as “gifted with beauty and intelligence”. Marie ruled her own race and religious influence of wealthy white men. Marie Laveau was an influential trail blazer for all women everywhere. She had strong convictions and very loyal confidentiality. These kept her very mysterious and legendary for many centuries. In Marie’s early life, it is to be believed that she was born in French Quarters of New Orleans. Her birth was not documented. By doing research and some simple math it is convicted that she was born sometime in 1801. Her mother was Marguerite Darcantel. She was slaved that was freed, and a mistress of her father named, Charles Laveaux. Charles Laveaux was a very wealthy mulatto businessman. Marguerite Darcantel, Marie’s’ mother, gave birth to Marie at her mother’s home, Ms. Catherine’s she then left Marie with her mother and continued in her relationship. Marie Laveau was the first one in her family born into freedom. Many say that Marie’s great-grandmother came to New Orleans as a slave from west Africa in the middle of the 1700’s. Catherine, Marie’s grandmother, was purchased by a free woman of color. Catherine was able to eventually buy her own home and property in the French Quarter. Where Marie Laveau would grow up and live to become the most legendary queen of Voodoo in America. At the beginning, many said Marie was a hairdresser. She was a very generous woman and of devout Catholic faith. She was known to use her “means” (magic) to help others in need.
PAGE DESIGNED BY LONGHORN PARANORMAL INTERN BAILEY MOSSMAN
Dimuro, G. (2021, June 16). The Real Story Of Marie Laveau, The Voodoo Queen Of New Orleans. All That's Interesting. https://allthatsinteresting.com/marie-laveau.
History Of New Orleans Voodoo: New Orleans. History Of New Orleans Voodoo | New Orleans. (n.d.). https://www.neworleans.com/things-to-do/multicultural/traditions/voodoo/.
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