Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of religious practices which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is one of many incarnations of African-based religions rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American population of the U.S. state of Louisiana. They became syncretized with the Catholicism and Francophone culture of south Louisiana as a result of the slave trade.
During the 19th century, Voodoo queens became central figures to Voodoo and presided over ceremonial meetings and ritual dances. They also earned an income by administrating charms, amulets, and magical powders guaranteed to cure ailments, grant desires, and confound or destroy one’s enemies.
The most famous voodoo Queen of New Orleans was Marie Laveau. In the 1830s she conducted private rituals behind her cottage on St. Ann Street of the New Orleans French Quarter, performed exorcisms, and offered sacrifices to spirits. Also a devout Catholic, Marie encouraged her followers to attend Catholic Mass. The influence of her Catholic beliefs further facilitated the adoption of Catholic practices into the Voodoo belief system. Today, she is remembered for her skill and compassion for the less fortunate, and her spirit is considered one of the central figures of Louisiana Voodoo.
Today, Voodoo is a major tourist attraction to the city of New Orleans. Shops selling charms, gris-gris, candles, and powders cater to both tourists and practitioners. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum houses numerous artifacts and provides daily tours of the museum, the St. Louis Cemetery, and the New Orleans French Quarter. The museum also provides spiritual services including matrimony blessings, marriage ceremonies, consultations, and other rituals. Voodoo ceremonies have been held against contemporary problems facing New Orleans, such as crack cocaine abuse, burglaries, prostitution and assaults.
Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with but is not completely separable from Haitian Vodou and southern Hoodoo. It differs from Vodou in its emphasis upon Gris-gris, voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo occult paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi (snake deity).
The cure-all was a Voodoo spell that could solve all problems. There were different recipes in Voodoo spells for cure-all; one recipe was to mix jimson weed (Warning: due to the toxicity of Jimson Weed, it is not advised for unskilled practitioners to create) with sulfur and honey. The mixture was placed in a glass, which was rubbed against a black cat, and then the mixture was slowly sipped.
Li Grande Zombi is the major serpent spirit of worship which corresponds to the Loa Damballah-Weddo. It is most commonly linked to the name of Marie Laveau’s pet snake, a huge boa constrictor or royal python (Ball python) who was worshipped at her New Orleans Voodoo rituals on Bayou St. John. St. John’s Eve
The ouanga, a charm used to poison an enemy, contained the poisonous roots of the figure maudit tree, brought from Africa and preserved in the West Indies. The ground up root was combined with other elements such as bones, nails, roots, holy water, holy candles, holy incense, holy bread, or crucifixes. The administrator of the ritual frequently evoked protection from Jehova, the Christian God, and Jesus Christ.
A love powder is a half teaspoonful of sugar, teaspoonful of peppermint and a teaspoonful of grated candied orange peel; give a teaspoonful of this mixture in a glass of wine and the person will love you forever.
In New Orleans, gris gris is often carried in the form of a doll or a bag and is essentially a means of carrying a charm or a spell. Voodoo Mama’s Authentic New Orleans gris gris (gree gree) are powerful magickal talismans created according to New Orleans Voodoo tradition.