New Orleans is the city like no other. Renowned for its architecture, jazz, cuisine, ghost, vampires, and voodoo. This Louisiana city beckons you to come and enjoy the fun, but not like Disney Land fun. New Orleans offers delicious fun, fascinating fun, and as the saying goes, “New Orleans, we put the fun in funeral.” Ghost tours and haunted tours are big in New Orleans, and a fun thing to do on these tours is exploring the New Orleans’ Voodoo religion and its captivating history.
Voodoo originated in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean, it is considered to be a combination of various African, Catholic and even Native American traditions. In the colonial period around 1719 African slaves brought Voodoo to the French Colony and they were creating mixtures of herbs and charms intended to protect some and harm others.
In Catholic New Orleans, Africans were able to continue their native faith by incorporating their gods with Catholic saints. Slaves were given freedom to assemble more than other colonies. African religious practices became a part of New Orleans early history, forming an open environment for spiritualism.
On the island of St. Domingue, presently known as Haiti, slaves started a massive revolt in 1791. White and black residents of St. Domingue fled to New Orleans because it had a similar French heritage. St. Domingue had well-developed Voodoo practices and planted their Voodoo seed in New Orleans. Later, the New Orleans Voodoo culture was enriched by the notorious Marie Laveau, who organized local practice and gave the religion its high profile. Her home and tomb can be visited in haunted tours in New Orleans.
Laveau brought Voodoo to clients and devotees of all races and classes. She was reputed to heal ailments, to contract desired lovers, and to get revenge on enemies. She had a famous contemporary, the freeman, Dr. John Montanee, known as Dr. John. He was a dark-skinned, man with a tattooed face. They held public rites in 1857 in Congo Square which is now Armstrong Park. Scandals flourished in those times around the Voodoo Culture in New Orleans. People were frightened and fascinated and spread rumors of snake worship, possession, and zombies.
Modern New Orleans is heavily influenced by Voodoo, and the word “Voodoo” is used as a marketing concept for restaurants, sports teams, and concerts. There are many Voodoo shops in the French Quarters, and Voodoo practitioners sell Voodoo products in stores and online, but it’s not just for amusement. They also supply sincere Voodooists with the oils, icons, and gris-gris that they need for ceremonies and worship.
You might be asking what gris-gris is. Gris-gris is a talisman or a Voodoo amulet. It is believed to protect the wearer from evil, or it brings luck. In some West African countries, it is used as a method of birth control. Gris-gris is a small bag worn by a person, inscribed with verses from the Qur’an, containing a ritual number of small objects.
A well-known Voodoo object is the Voodoo doll into which pins are inserted. Voodoo dolls have been around for centuries and are believed to be filled with magic energy to bring personal desires such as luck, money, love, and protection. Voodoo practitioners construct them with things like swamp moss, herbs, and oils and they give you a spell and directions on how to use them. You can learn more about Voodoo practices and New Orleans Voodoo hot spots with a Witches Brew Ghost and Haunted Tours.