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Published: January 12th 2018
Robi's family symbol
This morning, Renata and I headed over to Louis Armstrong Park for the start of our Voodoo tour with Free Tours by Foot. We did not know much about Voodoo, except that it was misrepresented in the media. Our guide, Robi, a Plantation Voodoo Priest is very passionate about advocating and providing awareness to correct misconceptions about his religion. He was very entertaining, and also involved the group in a typical Voodoo Ritual.
Like Christianity, Voodoo has one God, and saints like spirits called Ioa (intermediaries). In a Voodoo Ritual, the whole community gets involved. I was the second mama in command. I organized the meeting and made sure all the supplies were available. The ritual involved drumming, dancing and drinking (rum for the papa, for spirit possession). Spirit possession is believed to have occurred when an individual’s personality changes from the norm.
Robi, also showed the group his family symbol and explained the history of Marie Laveau and the misconception of Voodoo Dolls. Marie Laveau, known as the Voodoo Queen of Louisiana, was a free woman of colour. As a hairdresser, of wealthy white socialites, she had access to all the gossip about her customers and their servants
and slaves. She used the gossip and dirt on clients she gained during her encounters, along with her spy network to convince people that she was a Voodoo priestess with mystical powers.
Voodoo dolls, actually originated in Europe. They were made of rags and other materials and pierced with pins to inflict harm. They were mistakenly linked to Afro-Caribbean Voodoo. Voodoo healers, used dolls with pins as a method to document patient’s symptoms. For example, if a client was having stomach pain, the Voodoo healer would give traditional herbs for the stomach pain. He would also stick a pin on the stomach of a dolls that resembled the client. When the client returned, he would take out the doll and notice that the client previously had stomach issues. The healer would ask the client, if their stomach pain has resolved. If it has then the pin would be removed.
After, the highly recommended Voodoo tour. Robi, was fantastic! Renata and I headed over to Antoine’s for lunch. Antoine’s is one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the United States. At Antoine’s, Renata and I tried a sherry wine-laced alligator bisque and fried soft shell crabs with toasted sliced
almonds. The best part was the tour of Antoine’s after our meal. Renata and I saw pictures of famous people who have dined at Antoine’s, an alleyway for horse drawn carriages, the large wine cellar and the hidden room where celebrities including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used to eat.
After lunch, Renata and I explored the French quarter with another Free Tours by Foot. We wandered through the historical streets while listening to stories of authors, artists, priests and pirates.
After the tour, Renata and I quickly headed over to the French Market to buy gifts for family and friends, before heading on an evening cruise with Streamboat Natchez. Although the food wasn’t the greatest on the cruise, it was an enjoyable end to our time in New Orleans. Tomorrow, Renata and I head back home. Until next time!!
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