There are many reasons the city of New Orleans is such a popular tourist destination, one of them being the religion of Voodoo. The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum explores a fascinating and mysterious side of New Orleans’ fabled history. And if you can’t get to The Big Easy, this video tour is the next best thing.
Discover the culture of New Orleans Voodoo in the heart of the French Quarter with Madame Cinnamon Black at the Voodoo Museum. She gives a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most unique, small museums in the country.
Here you’ll get a peek at the mysteries, secrets, folklore and rituals of New Orleans Voodoo, an educational and entertaining experience you’ll never forget.
Origins of Voodoo
“People come to New Orleans because it’s one of the oldest cities in the world. I’d like to welcome you to the Voodoo Museum where people come to find out about Voodoo,” said Madame Cinnamon Black.
“So you think the Voodoo doll is real? Well, yes, we have the Voodoo doll for you. Not like Chucky, but we have dolls that people possess. Voodoo dolls come from England, better known as the pocket doll. And it’s a form of sticking a pin inside a doll to make the doll do something for you. But here in the city of New Orleans, we possess the dolls. The dolls are used to form a certain kind of magic,” said Black.
And a chicken foot is used to fight off evil. “They say you place this either in someone’s home or on someone’s car that takes your parking space or even in your business to fight away evil,” said Black.
This is a portrait of Marie Laveau, who was a Creole, a devoted Catholic and a free woman of color. Some folks call her Saint, legend and the most powerful Voodoo priestess known in New Orleans.
Also inside the museum, resides a journey map of Voodoo which travels from Africa to the United States. Interestingly, this is often times the same journey traveled by most hurricanes – from Africa to the United States.
The museum has an abundance of historic Voodoo relics, paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts. One of the more popular displays at the museum represents Saint Expedit, a spirit that stands at the gateway of the cemetery, better known as Baron Samedi or Papa Legba.
“There’s a folktale story that’s often told about Papa Legba having a top hat and tobacco. He likes rum and he likes vodka. So they say he dropped his sunglasses. Because of that, he has one lens in to see the living and one lens out to see the dead,” said Black.
Another display at the museum is of an alter you’d typically see inside the homes of Louisianans – a Bible, things that belong to their ancestors and statues of Catholic Saints.
“Often when you ask the ancestors of a favor, you would go to the grave and pay them back by cleaning the grave, by wiping off the slate, by sitting down and talking with Uncle Joe and maybe having a drink with him,” said Black.
You can learn about the true history and culture of New Orleans Voodoo with a guided tour of the museum and other local attractions, including nearby Congo Square, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s house and the St. Louis Cemetery.
The Voodoo Cemetery Tour takes you through the City of the Dead – the St. Louis Cemetery, one of New Orleans’ most famous cemeteries and the resting place of Marie Laveau.
Walk through Congo Square, the grounds where Marie Laveau and other Voodoo practitioners performed rituals and celebrations. And make a stop at Laveau’s home, where some believe her residual energy still calls home to this day.
One thing’s for sure, New Orleans history is never boring. Since 1972, the Voodoo Museum has been an adventurous and inexpensive way to spend a couple hours learning about Voodoo beliefs and practices. Whether you go on the outdoor walking tour or decide to stay indoors for the museum self-guided tour, you’re guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind experience.
“Voodoo is in the city of New Orleans. Yes it is. It’s inside the food, the music and the drinks. So if you come to our city and you have something to eat or drink, the Voodoo’s already got you,” said Black.
The museum is open daily from 10am – 6pm. For more information, check out voodoomuseum.com or call 504-680-0128.