One interesting facet of New Orleans culture is the voodoo influence. This stems from 1719, when slaves were brought over to Louisiana from Africa. These slaves were unwilling to part with their gris gris, or magic-making, objects, and used Africa healers to cure their ailments. And because neither French nor Spanish regimes attempted to suppress this part of their culture, it has been able to continue until today.
Make a stop into the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum (714 Dumaine), where you can take in informational exhibits, voodoo artifacts, alters, statues, dolls and other interesting objects. Founded in 1972, the museum aims to educate visitors on voodoo culture and practice and dispel the negative myths widely associated with it. The main highlight of the museum is the exhibit on Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Laveau was a free woman of color and a Creole who was known for practicing voodoo from the 1820s to 1860s, after which time she passed down the torch to her daughter. Today, there are many voodoo followers who worship her, even making pilgrimages to her tomb at St. Louis Cemetery #1. After visiting the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the culture and history. Note: The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm and is $7 per person, or $5 if you mention you saw their website.
There are also an array of voodoo shops in New Orleans. Located a few doors down from the museum is the Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans Cultural Center & Collection (612 Dumaine Street). Here you’ll potions, herbs, statues, oils and gris gris bags that are supposed to help change your life. You can even request to have your own special blend of herbs made up based on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re interesting in having a personal voodoo experience, the shop offers rituals, readings, consultations and spiritual work. Some other voodoo shops in New Orleans include Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo (723 St. Peter Street), Erzulies Authentic Voodoo Shop (807 Royal Street) and the House of Voodoo (620 Decatur Street).
To explore New Orleans’ voodoo culture in a luxurious way, head to the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans Spa (921 Canal Street) for a “Voodoo Love Bath and Massage” treatment. The 70-minute experience is a spellbinding experience that incorporates the earthy oil Marie Laveau, the most powerful Voodoo queen in the world, gave to her clients. While you steep yourself in the warm waters incense fills the room while red candles flicker and voodoo music enhances the ambiance. This is followed by a Swedish massage.
Featured image via stevendepolo