The Voodoo Religion In New Orleans
Voodoo, referred to as Vodun in West African countries, is the westernization of West Africa’s religious beliefs. It is the mixing of the French and African populations that gave birth to New Orleans Voodoo. Also known as Louisiana Voodoo, New Orleans Voodoo is one of the many offshoots of Africa based religions.
Voodoo festivals have steadily gained popularity in New Orleans and have become part of the city’s traditions. These festivals draw in hordes of people from all over the world. The celebrations involve beating drums and singing under oak trees in order to connect with nature to invoke the spirits and relive the past.
Voodoo Origin in New Orleans
The slaves who arrived in New Orleans around the 1700s brought along the traditions of Voodoo. The city is widely known for borrowing from many different cultures. Voodoo fused with the main religion of Catholicism and formed a Voodoo-Catholicism hybrid refer to today as New Orleans Voodoo.
A popular activity in the French Quarter is to visit the cemeteries. People lay paper flowers and other offerings over the gravesite of Marie Laveau in order to appease her spirit. Marie was a spiritual figure within the Voodoo community who lived during the 1800s. Some tourists go there for fun and soak up the rich history while Voodoo worshippers visit to connect with the spirit world.
Louisiana Voodoo is built on the belief that there is one God and spirits who are tasked with the role of watching over our everyday life. Worshippers attempt to connection with these spirits through dance, music, and singing. They also incorporate snakes that represent the connection between Heaven and Earth.
Present day Voodoo aims to provide services to the community by helping individuals with personal issues such as anxiety, loneliness, depression, and addiction. This is done through rituals that are meant to connect with nature, spirits, and ancestors. Rituals are typically performed behind closed doors.
Where Can You Experience Voodoo In New Orleans?
Voodoo is a religion that seeks to connect its believers to nature, spirits, and ancestors. New Orleans is the perfect place to sample and discover the long history and cultural importance of the religion.
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Located in the French Quarter, the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum houses a lot of artifacts from Africa, New Orleans, and Haiti. There are detailed descriptions for all of the objects that discuss Voodoo history and rituals. Throughout the building you can listen to traditional Voodoo drums. Overall, this is the perfect first stop on your journey to learn about the religion.
St. Louis Cemetery
The cemetery is located just outside of the French Quarter. Referred to as the “City of the Dead,” this is where Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau was laid to rest. Many modern Voodoo believers still make a pilgrimage to visit her tomb. Due to the high number of visitors each year you will need to schedule a guided tour in order to see Marie Laveau’s tomb.
Many shops in the French Quarter sell Voodoo inspired gifts. However, to get your hands on authentic Voodoo souvenirs, you need to find the shops that are owned by those who practice the Voodoo religion. Stop by Voodoo Authentica: Cultural Center and Collection. The walls of this shop are lined with handmade voodoo dolls, medicinal herbs, and potions. For a few extra dollars, you can also have a tarot card reading session.
Voodoo is an essential part of New Orleans’ history and culture. Make sure to take time to learn about the religion during your trip. You won’t be disappointed!