Hello again my CLDA and industry colleagues,
Get ready for NOLA – the CLDA FMF is getting closer and will be here before you can say alligator sauce piquant. And when you get to New Orleans, I hope you know much about our CRESCENT CITY CULTURE and really feel the ambience of the city. But for today’s little bit of fun, I think the word “aura” would be more appropriate.
New Orleans is known for many things; great food, jazz music, miles of bayous, the French Quarter, the Superdome and hosting Super Bowls, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and, of course, its below-sea-level terrain. Well, as a result of that last item there is another little thing that New Orleans is identified with… our cemeteries. That’s right. Many are above ground because of our negative elevation. Here’s another little thing you may not know… we have also been called the “City of the Dead” because of our many above-ground graves. There has always been a colorful aura and infatuation with the mystique of this part of our city.
With that in mind, let’s explore another curious aspect of our storied past and meet one of New Orleans’ more mysterious citizens… Marie Laveau, the queen of Voodoo.
Now, most New Orleanians don’t talk much about Marie Laveau, let alone, Voodoo, other than to speak about it in novel ways. Such as, we might say “don’t put the Voodoo on me,” when hoping bad luck doesn’t come our way. Or we may speak about the Gris Gris, which, honestly for years I thought it was someone putting a bad spell on you, but learned it is actually the opposite.
Not sure about you, but I know I was a little off regarding my understanding of Voodoo and Marie Laveau. Maybe your perception of this might not be exactly correct either. My perception was a result of the “Hollywood” version as depicted in movies. Some dark, evil ceremony done in the shadows as Voodoo Dolls inflicted pain on its victim. Well, I learned it is actually a mixture of religious and African culture that was practiced here during the dark days of slavery. Of course, there is much more to it than just that.
Marie Laveau’s mystique fell right into place with my “perception” of the Voodoo experience. I always thought she was sort of a witch doctor as described in New Orleans folklore. Well, as it turns out, Marie Laveau was many things. A hairdresser, a nurse and healer and fairly well connected with many people. And she certainly practiced Voodoo. As she took care of people in her healing role, she would use herbs and potions. This, and her practice of Voodoo, combined with her extremely large circle of acquaintances is in part why she has become a New Orleans legend.
If you want to find out more about Marie Laveau, then get to know her here.
And when you come to New Orleans if you now have that mysterious curiosity to explore “what is this Voodoo thing?” Then maybe you should visit the Voodoo Museum.
And what about this “City of the Dead” thing? Check out one of the cemeteries when you’re here for the FMF. I would suggest St Louis Cemetery #1. It is right on the edge of the French Quarter and that is also where you will certainly get some of our CRESCENT CITY CULTURE and find the resting place of one of this city’s most mysterious and possibly misunderstood citizens… Marie Laveau.
See you in February!