In New Orleans, it isn’t only Mardi Gras that draws travelers to this lively city. Voodoo is also a foundation of the city’s tourism industry. And voodoo souvenirs bring in great amounts of revenue for the town.
But, just because you are in New Orleans, don’t think that the Donald Trump voodoo doll you bought is going to really affect the American leader, despit
e the fact that his hands are accurately proportionately small and his hair is radically orange (reference image).
And those tarot cards that were flipped in that mystical room and explained to you by a mysterious-looking woman were probably not interpreted by a real voodoo priestess.
Did you know that voodoo is an actual faith? It is a practice that combines West African religions and folklore brought over by slaves along with Native American traditions and spirituality, and even has some Christianity and other beliefs mixed into it.
Voodoo is an oral tradition that does not have a primary holy text, prayer book, or set of rituals and beliefs. The religion makes use of a wealth of rituals and observations that affect followers’ day-to-day lives. In many ways, it is a personal religion. Followers are said to have direct experiences with spirits, and these experiences can be dramatically different from place to place and person to person.
There are authentic voodoo places to visit in New Orleans. Tourists are encouraged to visit such destinations as The Voodoo Spiritual Temple. This temple was established in 1990 by Priestess Miriam Chamani and her husband Priest Oswan Chamani. It is the only “formally” established Spiritual Temple with a focus on traditional West African spiritual and herbal healing practices currently existing in New Orleans.
On the more eerie side, there is a woman who was (and still is) known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans – Marie Laveaux. She is buried at St. Louis Cemetery which has been said to be the most haunted cemetery in America. Many visitors claim they have seen her ghost and heard her whispering a curse to any disrespectful grave gawkers. At her gravesite, people leave offerings such as candles, flowers, and yes, voodoo dolls, with the hope that she will grant their wishes. If she does, the blessed one will return to mark her grave with 3 X marks to show their gratitude.
However, make no mistake. The history of Marie Laveaux and her husband, Charles, is very real and also officially recognized. The United States Department of the Interior named 1801 Dauphine Street – the home of Marie and Charles Laveaux – in the National Register of Historic Places.