THE REAL TRUE GREAT VOODOO QUEENS AND KINGS
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THE TRUE VOODOO QUEENS AND KINGS

new orleans hoodoo voodoo


Although there is plenty of information about Marie Laveau (Lavaux) and her daughter and namesake in the legends and lore of Old New Orleans, known as Marie II, separating the fact from the myth has always been a challenge for those seeking a true history of this famous Queens New Orleans Voodoo icons.

Nearly everything that is known about them and their practice of the voudon religion originates in the secretive oral tradition of the practitioners of Voodoo. And that information has been embellished with hearsay and drama, making these already larger than life personas absolutely formidable in the tales that still survive.

Nevertheless, there’s not a single person who grew up in New Orleans much less the world, without hearing about the legend and powers of theNew Orleans infamous Queen of Voodoo. But little do people know she was not the only Voodoo queen to have such a regin in the world.

Story By Dawn Theard, Alyne Pustanio, Donald Authement, Artwork by H.D. Meyers and Ricardo Pustanio © 2007

 

Altar to Marie Laveau

Marie Laveau

Voodoo was more then alive in New Orleans before Marie Laveau became the regining Voodoo Queen. By the 1830s there were many voodoo queens in New Orleans, fighting over control of the Sunday Congo dances and the secret ceremonies out at Lake Pontchartrain. But when "Mamzelle" Marie Laveau decided to become queen, contemporaries reported the other queens faded before her, some by crumbling to her powerful gris-gris, and some being driven away by brute force. Marie was always a devote Catholic and added influences of Catholicism--holy water, incense, statues of the saints, and Christian prayers--to the already sensational ceremonies of voodooism.

Marie Laveau

Marie knew the sensation that the rituals at the lake were causing and used it to further the purposes of the voodoo movement in New Orleans. She invited the public, press, police, the New Orleans roués, and others thrill-seekers of the forbidden fun to attend. Charging admission made voodoo profitable for the first time. Her entrepreneurial efforts went even further by organizing secret orgies for wealthy white men seeking beautiful black, mulatto and quadroon women for mistresses. Marie presided over these meetings herself. These alleged secret meetings enviably became public. Marie also gained control of the Congo Square Dances by entering before the other dancers and entertaining the fascinated onlookers with her snake Le Grande Zombi.

Sanite Dede was a Voodoo Queen before Marie. Sanite was a free woman of color that could be found selling food near the Cabildo and in Place d'Armes.

 

The first Voodoo Queen in New Orleans was Sanite’ DeDe, a young woman from Santo Domingo who bought her way to freedom in New Orleans. She would hold rituals in her courtyard on Dumaine and Chartres Streets, just blocks away from the Cathedral. The rhythmic beat of the drums could be heard in during mass! It was because of this that in 1817, the church decided that any religion that was not Catholic would not be allowed to practice within the city limits. Congo Square, now Armstrong Park was the location that the early Voodouns held their rituals. In February 1932, the Times Picayune printed an article about these rituals telling of “wild and uncontrolled orgies” and “serpent worship”.

Police who actually arrested participants frequently broke up rituals! In 1863, the Times Picayune recorded the trial of one such arrest. Approximately 400 women were arrested and tried for the crime of “dancing naked” at a Voodoo ritual. A young woman had reported the crime to the police after accidentally walking into the area. After three days of trials, the women were released for “lack of evidence”. It seems that the girl who reported the “crime” had become strangely confused and was unable to testify properly against them. The charges were dropped. Many believed that the Voodouns hexed the girl and then charmed the judge. Due to such incidents, many a ritual was relocated in secret to the swampland on Bayou St. John, near what is now New Orleans City Park. Today, Voodouns continue to hold rituals in Congo Square and each year Voodoo Queen Sallie Ann Glassman Holds a Voodoo Head washing Ceremony.

There was also the well known Doctor Yah Yah, a slave who was popular with his voodoo root cures and potions. His fame was wide spread until he gave a man one of his voodoo magic elixer that was actually a deadly poison.


Then there was also the fampus John Montenet, better known as Dr. John. He was a well respected Voodoo freeman of color who was said by many to to have been a Prince in Senegal. He was considered by some to be a African Priest, or New Orleans Voodoo Doctor. Dr. John owned property, he had several beautiful wives and mistresses, is said to have had over 50-60 children.

What he was famous for, though, was predicting the future, casting spell, curing illnesses, making gris-gris and reading minds. He was one of the the leading figure besides Anite Dede in New Orleans Voodoo just before the crowning of Marie.

Marie Laveau succeeded the main ruling Queen, Sanite Dede as the voodoo queen (high priestess) of New Orleans sometime around 1830. No one in the hierarchy of voodoo priests and priestesses disputed Laveau's rise to that position, for it was widely known that she was gifted with great knowledge and powers of sorcery, and protected by Dr. John's favor.


Marie worked with, traded information with and learned from Dr. John so by many it is thought they were in communion in their secret works. She then took what she learned, added her own theatrics, personality and beliefs. She then rose to a level that over shadowed even Dr. John.


In about 1826 Marie began a romantic relationship with Christopher Glapion. Glapion was a freeman of color who worked as a cabinet maker. Although they were probably never married, (no records that I know have been found) Marie and Glapion stayed together until his death in 1835 (although some say he died in 1855). The couple also had 15 children together. One of their daughters, also named Marie, would later take her mother's role as Voodoo Queen.


While working as a hair dresser, Marie would listen to her clients as they talked about all the intimate details of their lives. Since she was often called on by the wealthy white woman of New Orleans, Marie heard many things that were not for public knowledge. Affairs, marriages based on buisness arrangements, illegitimate children, buisness problems and the such were common gossip for the women sitting for hair cuts. They would speak about their own lives and the lives of those they knew. Marie just listened and let them talk.

Marie Laveau Statue By Ricardo Pustanio


Marie also had a network of spies. The black slaves and servents in the area respected, loved and feared Marie Laveau and the magic that she worked. Often Marie would help these people by healing, doing a spell, or a curse, for 'free'. She would not charge money, instead she would ask them for information on others that they knew and on those that they worked for. Many would provide Marie with information so that they would be in her good graces. Her power over the slaves and servants in New Orleans eventually became absolute.
Marie used the information that she heard to add to her power. I have no doubt that by appearing to 'just know' all the little secrets of so many helped Marie's rise. Marie mixed what she knew with her knowledge of spells and potions, added her personal touch and eventually became the undisputed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.


To visit Marie for a reading became fashionable. Officials would pay her as much as $1,000.00 for her help in winning elections. People paid as much as $10.00 for a simple love potion. Blacks saw her as a leader with equal amounts of love, fear and respect. Her magical power was well known, and repsected.

At the age of 70, in 1869, Marie gave her last performance as a voodoo queen. She announced she was retiring. She went to her Saint Ann Street home, but she never completely retired. She continued her prison work until 1875, and died in 1891. Then a similar tall woman with flashing black eyes, with the ability to control lives, emerged as Marie Laveau II.

Marie Laveau Clapion was born February 2, 1827, one of the 15 children crowding the Saint Ann Street cottage. It was never known whether her mother, Marie I, chose the role for her daughter, or whether Marie II chose the role to follow in her mother’s footsteps for herself. By some accounts she shared her mother’s features. Others say the pupils of her eyes were half-moon shaped. Apparently she lack the warmth and compassion of her mother because she inspired more fear and subservience than her mother did. Likewise, she began as a hairdresser, eventually ran a bar and brothel on Bourbon Street between Toulouse and Saint Peter Streets.

Marie continued operations at the "Maison Blanche" (White House), the house which her mother had built for secret voodoo meetings and liaisons between white men and black women. Marie II was proclaimed to be a talented procuress, able to fulfill any man’s desires for a price. Lavish parties were held at the Maison Blanche offered champagne, fine food, wine, music, and naked black girls dancing for white men, politicians, and high officials. They were never raided by the police who feared that if the crossed Marie she might "hoodoo" them.

June 23rd, the Eve of Saint John’s Day was one of the most important days in the New Orleans’ voodoo calendar. All the faithful celebrated out at Saint John Bayou. Saint John’s Day corresponds to the summer solstice which has been celebrated since ancient times. But by the time Marie II arrived she had celebrated more than once.

The Saint John's Day celebration of 1872 began as a religious ceremony. Marie came with a crowd singing. Soon a cauldron was boiling with water from a beer barrel, into which went salt, black pepper, a black cat, a black rooster, a various powders, and a snake sliced in three pieces representing the Trinity. With all this boiling the practitioners ate, whether the contents of the cauldron or not is not known. Afterwards or during the feast was more singing, appropriately "Mamzelle Marie." Then it was cooling off time at which all stripped and swam in the lake. This was followed by a sermon by Marie, then a half hour of relaxation, or sexual intercourse. Then four naked girls put the contents of the cauldron back into the beer barrel. Marie gave another sermon, by this time it was becoming daylight and all headed for home.

On June 16, 1881, Marie I, as Widow Paris, died in her Saint Ann Street house. The reporters painted her in the most glorious terms, a saintly figure of 98 (actually 87), who nursed the sick, and prayed incessantly with the diseased and condemned. Reporters called her the recipient "in the fullest degree" of the "heredity gift of beauty" in the Laveau family, who gained the notice of Governor Claiborne, French General Humbert, Aaron Burr, and even the Marquis de Lafayette. Her obituaries claimed she lived a pious life surrounded by her Catholic religion, with no mention of her voodoo past. Even one of her surviving children, Madame Legendre, claimed her saintly mother never practiced voodoo and despised the cult.

Strangely, Marie II "died" in the public eye with Marie I seeming to pass into obscurity. Since the public had made no distinction between mother and daughter, the death of one ended the career of the other. Marie II still reigned over the voodoo ceremonies of the blacks and ran the Maison Blanche, but she never regained high notice in the press. Supposedly she drowned in a big storm in Lake Pontchartrain in the 1890s, but some people claimed to have seen her as late as 1918.

Death did not end the power of Marie Laveau, however. Though reportedly buried in a vault in the family crypt in St. Louis Cemetery, no. 1. The vault bears the name of Marie Philome Clapion, deceased June 11, 1897. But this vault still attracts faithful practitioners who still leave gifts of food, money, and flowers, and ask for Marie's help after turning around three times and making a cross with red brick on the stone. The cemetery is small but the tomb seems to come out of nowhere when walking among the other crypts.

In the St. Louis Cemetery, no 2, there is another vault bearing the name of Marie Laveau. This vault has red crosses on it and is called the "wishing vault." Young women often come to it to petition when seeking husbands. Stories have it Marie rests in various cemeteries in the city. Legend also tells she frequently visits the cemeteries, as well as the French Quarter, and her voodoo haunts.

resource: Guiley, Rosemary Ellen.
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft.
New York: Facts On File, 1989 [ISBN 0-8160-2268-2]

Mary Ellen Pleasant

 

CALIFORNIA VOODOO QUEEN: Mary Ellen Pleasant

 

Mary Ellen Pleasant (died January 4, 1904) was a 19th Century female entrepreneur of partial African descent who used her fortune to further abolition. She worked on the Underground Railroad across many states and then helped bring it to California during the Gold Rush Era. She was a friend and financial supporter of John Brown and well known in abolitionist circles. After the Civil War she took her battles to the courts and won several civil rights victories, one of which was cited and upheld in the 1980’s and resulted in her being called, “The Mother of Human Rights in California”

 

Mary Ellen Pleasant
This site is dedicated to accurate presentation of the life of Mary Ellen Pleasant, called the "Mother of Civil Rights in California" and to presenting her ...
www.mepleasant.com


At 1661 Octavia Street you will find a plaque honoring African-American Mary Ellen Pleasant.

1661 Octavia Street plaque honoring African-American Mary Ellen Pleasant.

A biographer notes that her mother brought her up in the Voodoo religion, and that Mary herself was perceived to have the powers associated with a priestess. Whether she had supernatural powers or not, she certainly amassed a fortune in San Francisco - which was reportedly worth $30,000,000 at its height.

There is now a park and memorial plaque at the corner of Bush & Octavia streets, where her grand mansion once stood. She received the most wealthy and influential people of the town at her home, and it was said that Mary used hidden peepholes and passages to spy on her guests' conversations while she was out of the room. That gathering of confidential information could have been one way that she contributed to her fortune.

The legends of her Voodoo prowess abound to this day, however, and there have been many strange occurrences that have taken place in the park. People who say bad things about her in the park have had objects dropped on their head, or fallen suddenly as if pushed. The sudden appearance of a crow seems to herald Mary's presence, and she has even taken her human form and walked among the trees and bushes. If you make a respectful request of the Voodoo priestess on that corner, and find favor with Mary, it is said that your request will come true.

Source: http://www.ghostinmysuitcase.com/places/sanfran/index.htm

“CHICKEN MAN”

Prince Ke’eyama THE ONE TRUE KING OF NEW ORLEANS VOODOO

He called himself “Prince Ke’eyama” and he was acknowledged far and wide as the One True King of New Orleans Voodoo, but most locals knew him only as “The Chicken Man.”

He was born Frank Staten in 1937 to a family of Haitian descent who brought him to New Orleans when he was still an infant. Young Frank grew up in the household of his grandfather, a practicing Baptist minister who took over the early education of his grandson teaching him a deep love and respect of the Holy Bible, Almighty God, and Jesus Christ. But at the age of nine, young Frank’s grandfather sat him down and told him something that changed his life forever.

“You have the power,” he said. “God has given you the power to help people. God shows you things about people you have no other way of knowing. You have magic powers. You have the power to heal.”

the real chicken man

In the Voodoo museum’s excellent video on voodoo, Chicken Man seems unfazed. There was a section about Chicken Man who is known for biting the heads off of chickens in his rituals. He stopped doing that a few years ago because, according to him, "Chickens got tired."

Also See: THE GHOST OF THE CHICKEN MAN WALKS THE STREETS OF POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS


This revelation was soon followed by another, almost as amazing, when the young boy’s grandmother revealed to him for the first time the truth of his royal descent. He had come from a great line of powerful kings, she told him, and as he learned more about being a vessel for the power of God, he would also pick up the mantle of this legacy and wear it all his life.

From that moment Frank was no longer called by his given name. His name was revealed to him: He would be Prince Ke’eyama.

Prince’s grandmother taught him about the magic power of herbs; she revealed to him ancient secrets of Haitian Voodoo that had originated in the native slave homeland of Africa and how to use them to help others.

With the firm guidance of his grandparents Prince grew more powerful every day. He began to follow a strict diet that he claimed was revealed to him during through meditation and prayer. He was shown, he said, that the common chicken was his most powerful totem avenue; as instructed, Prince made chicken a part of his daily diet. Adhering to the strictures revealed to him, Prince soon learned that he could control every aspect of his physical body. He would eat chicken every day, but he found he could also chew and swallow glass unharmed, and that he could eat fire.

As a young man, Prince traveled widely, visiting communities in other states where the ancient voodoo beliefs were practiced. He also returned to Haiti several times where his powers were increased and his reputation similarly grew.

Chicken Man's used to sell incense to the bartenders and tourists and who earned his moniker by biting the heads off live chickens in a 1950's nightclub act. His ashes were sitting on a shelf in a local funeral home because his daughter couldn't afford to pay for his cremation, a local Bartender was said to have paid not only for the chicken Mans ashes, but a full New Orleans Jazz funeral complete with a second line that had world famous Bourbon Street immobilized for the entire day.

“Chicken Man to Get Voodoo Burial,” New Orleans. Times-Picayune, 25 January 1999

You may have seen the movie 'Wild Wheels' on National Geografic's Explorer or your local PBS tv station recently...Harrod Blank spent almost three days in New Orleans filming the burial of the 'Cosmic Ray Deflection Motor Vehicle' at the wake, at Chicken Man's voodoo burial blessing, a second line parade for the car and also at the actual burial site...We got about 53 seconds in the movie...You may not know that there is also a book that goes

along with it...Order the book 'WILD WHEELS'... Our car is mentioned in this short review at WFMU Catalog of Curiosities
...Featured Art Car...

Chicken Man did pass a bit before Christmas 1998, his ashes are being kept at Miriam's Temple on Rampart Street.

Sedona Arts Center Features
The Chicken Man
by Mindy Mendelsohn


In the city of New Orleans, a Jazz Funeral is considered to be the highest honor that can be given to the dead. In January of 1999, the largest Jazz funeral in the history of New Orleans was given to a man known as the Chicken Man. The funeral made a television travel show and caught the attention of Television veteran and Sedonan Ron Bacon.

Charles Massicot Gandolfo

Charles Massicot Gandolfo, (1939-2001) otherwise known as "Voodoo Charley," founded this museum in 1972. Although it has changed locations throughout the years, this Voodoo museum¹s mission has remained the same: to promote the cultural and spiritual aspects of Voodoo, rather than simply exploiting the religion as a spooky tourist attraction.


A native New Orleanian with a Creole (French-Spanish) ancestry, and is concerned about environmental issues and civil rights of all citizens. He holds two degrees, one in Fine Arts and the other in Commercial Arts. He owned and operated a hairstyling salon in the French Quarter called "The Salon of the Artist", following in the footsteps of one of the most well known hair dressers of all time, the great Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. A history buff, especially where New Orleans' Voodoo and culture are concerned, he recalls his grandmother's story about about his ancestors having come from Haiti in 1802 after the slave uprisings. The revolt resulted in the burning of the family plantation. His family was then taken in by a Voodoo Mamboo, a close friend. The Mamboo hid them in barrels and placed them on a ship en route to New Orleans. Mr. Gandolfo has provided authentic Voodoo information and rituals for several major motion pictures including, "The Big Easy" and "Angel Heart". He has appeared on "The ABC Morning News", "Larry King Live", and "Good Morning America". He is also the author of several books including, "Voodoo In South Louisiana", "The Voodoo Cookbook", and "How to use your Voodoo Doll". He was motivated by family history-his great-grandfather was cured of lockjaw by a Voodoo priestess named Mama Midnight.

In the grand secret traditions of the great ancestor of New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Today post hurricane Katrina Voodoo is very much alive and well and flourishing in New Orleans, LA (known as the Voodoo Capital of the United States).

TOP TEN NEW ORLEANS VOODOO PRACTIONORS
No. 1: Queen Bianca



Bianca has been the reigning Queen of New Orleans voodoo since 1983 when she received the title from Liga Foley, her aunt by marriage and a granddaughter of Marie Laveau or so they say.

Larger then life her reputation and legend proceeds her. Bianca has presided over the secret Sosyete that the Laveaus' originally founded carrying on the legacy of true New Orleans voodoo these many years. "The Grande Sosyete did not die with (Marie Laveau I, and II) them it just went underground." says Bianca. Only the inner circle of followers and devotees know of it's secrets and rites, and ritual locations.

Bianca learned the ways of New Orleans Voodoo and Santeria from a very young age. Having studied numerous ancient paths and traditions, she has also become very well known as specializing in rare New Orleans original voodoo occult items and the handmaking of magical fetishes, small voodoo statues and good luck charms.

No one is left unmoved by an encounter with the powerful Bianca and she is widely loved and sought after. There are some, however, who live by this motto in their dealings with the reigning Voodoo Queen:


“Ira Regina Mors Est”

It is wise to take this caveat to heart.

Bianca’s Midnight Blessing of the Monkey and Cock Statues

Modern day Voodoo Queen Bianca reigns over New Orleans Voodoo in direct line from Marie Laveau, recognized as the original queen. Each year, sometimes twice a year, Queen Bianca will host a ritual in which the Monkey and Cock Statues created in honor of Marie Laveau are blessed and charged. In this ritual, which always takes place outdoors in a highly secret location, Queen Bianca will invoke the spirit of Marie Laveau, becoming possessed by the powerful Voodoo Queen. Through Bianca, her modern day counterpart, Marie Laveau is able to be present with her devotees and personally blesses the Monkey and Cock Statues.

The highly secret vodusi of Queen Bianca’s Sosyete present the living, channeled Marie Laveau with the first Monkey and Cock Statue of each year as an offering; other offerings preferred by Marie Laveau, including those detailed above, are also presented and accepted by Laveau through the powerful Queen Bianca.

The first Monkey and Cock statue remains with the powerful Mambo throughout the year until the time of the next ritual when it is ceremoniously broken in favor of another. This ritual is said to take place once each year, usually around April 30th or May 1st; often, however, Queen Bianca and her vodusi will repeat the ritual in the fall of the year, coinciding with harvest festivals and Samhain rituals. As stated, the location for each ritual is a closely guarded secret and is only shared with members of the Sosyete at the very last minute, when they are called to assemble. This is one of the most powerful examples of continuing devotion to the great Marie Laveau surviving in New Orleans today.

Bianca’s Annual Drumming Ritual

The highly secret Sosyete of Bianca the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans conducts regular drumming rituals in secret locations throughout the New Orleans area. In the face of Hurricane Katrina, Bianca and her vodusi undertook a marathon drumming ritual, maintaining it through the very worst of the hurricane’s fury. Even the winds and floodwaters of Katrina could not drown out the drums, and in the end, despite the devastation, the storm turned and spared New Orleans it’s very worst. Under normal circumstances, that is pre-Katrina, Queen Bianca regularly called her Sosyete together, usually around the middle of August, for an annual ceremony to propitiate the Lwas and the ancestors, thanking them for their unceasing attention to the faithful. These drumming rituals are the direct descendants of the “bamboula” that Marie Laveau hosted during her reign as Queen of Voodoo, and, in fact, Queen Bianca still refers to the ritual by that popular name today. With the displacement of many members of her ultra-secret sect, it will be some time before Queen Bianca will host another “bamboula;” but she asked that the drumming rituals continue to take place in absentia until the Sosyete is once again reunited in its New Orleans home.



No. 2: Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman


Mambo Sallie Ann has been practicing Voodoo in New Orleans since 1977. She traveled to Haiti in 1995 to undergo the week-long “couche” initiation rituals; during these rituals, she was ordained as Ounsi, Kanzo and Mambo Asogwe, or a High Priestess of Vodou. Mambo Sallie Ann is one of the few white Americans to have been ordained through the traditional Haitian initiation. As an American woman of Jewish-Ukrainian heritage with a thorough knowledge of the Kabala and ritual magick, she brings a unique perspective to the traditional practices of vodou.

Counted as one of the twenty most active Voodoo practitioners in the United States, Priestess Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman is known for promoting positive thoughts through her Voodoo faith. She is also an historian on Voodoo tradition and its roots in Hatian Vodun.

Mambo Sallie Ann is the founder of La Source Ancienne Ounfo and the founder of the Island of Salvation Botanica, a resource for Vodoun religious supplies and a showcase for Mambo Sallie Ann’s Vodou-inspired art. Renowned for her powerful workings and community-based rituals, Mambo Sallie Ann is one of the most personable and accessible of the powerful New Orleans Voodoo Priestesses. “My favorite thing about Voodoo is the concept that there’s an invisible world inside the physical world and its more beautiful there and more magical there, and everything is more possible there . . .” Sallie Ann Glassman

Sally Ann Glassman possessed by the spirit of Marie Laveau was featured on the first show for Sci Fi Investigates.

Deborah (Debbie) Dobrydney gets her formal voodoo bapstism head washes by Sallie Ann Glassman

A large crowd attended this year’s ritual, including many members of the national media. Representatives of NBC, the SciFi Channel ,(Deborah (Debbie) Dobrydney gets her formal voodoo bapstism head washes by Sallie Ann Glassman Above.) National Geographic Magazine mingled with devout vodusi and the curious as Mambo Sallie Ann once again entreated the help and assistance of the Loas, most especially that of Marie Laveau, in facing the first hurricane season since Katrina.


SCI FI INVESTIGATES SEASON 1 FIRST OCTOBER 12, 2006 SHOW http://www.scifi.com/investigates/index.php

Sallie Ann Glassamn host several private and public rituals each year.

Hurricane Protection Ritual

This ritual is held each July, approximately a month into New Orleans’ annual hurricane season. Under the direction of Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and La Source Ancienne Ounfo, the ritual is held to honor the powerful Petwo Lwa Erzulie Dantor and to thank her for continued protection in the face of these powerful and destruction forces of Nature. Mambo Sallie Ann assembles the servite around the peristile in her temple where offerings are made and rituals are performed to invoke Dantor across the dark waters of the Great Abyss, asking her to keep her faithful safe for another year. Appropriate offerings at the Hurricane Protection ritual include spicy fried pork, corn and egg omelets, spicy cakes and candies such as “Red Hots” and “Hot Tamales,” rum, whiskey, cigars, Florida Water, and storm water. Dantor is syncretized with the Catholic Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the Black Madonnas of Poland, among others. Mambo Sallie Ann and the Ounfo have been holding the Hurricane Protection Ritual each year for the past eight years, and each year New Orleans has been protected. However, the destruction and havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina have tempted many to suggest that Dantor finally failed her servite and the City. Devotees of this powerful Lwa are quick to point out that, actually, Hurricane Katrina did turn away from New Orleans at the last minute: after making landfall in Louisiana’s southern Plaquemines Parish, Katrina turned eastward and vented her worst fury on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Believers in Dantor and the power of this yearly ritual credit this last minute turn to the great Lwa and reiterate what officials all across the region have said again and again: This was not a direct hit; had Hurricane Katrina been a direct hit, there would be nothing but water where the City now stands. Thanks to Erzulie Dantor, many believe, there is something left of New Orleans today.

Marie Laveau Headwashing Ceremony

Commemorating the time of year most preferred by Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau for her workings, this ceremony takes place on June 23rd, traditionally St. John’s Eve and an important date in many cultures. During her lifetime Mambo Marie Laveau hosted her voodoo “bamboulas” to coincide with this date; these always took place along the waterway known as Bayou St. John in New Orleans. To honor both the tradition and the great Voodoo Queen herself, Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman and La Source Ancienne Ounfo host a midsummer headwashing ritual each year on the same waterway favored by Marie Laveau. This ritual, performed for the benefit of devotees and members of the public alike, is a celebration of the season of fullness and plenty. As with other rituals, Marie Laveau, honored as a powerful ancestral Lwa in her own right, is invoked by the Mambo to join in the festivities. A ritual headwashing takes place and all are invited to share in the powerful “ashe” or energy that is invoked from the presence of Marie Laveau and that is passed, through the Mambo, to each devotee. Hypnotic ritual drumming accompanies the ritual and after headwashing is complete devotees dance long into the sapphire night. Offerings for Marie Laveau are appropriate and these include white candles, white scented flowers, hair dressing items such as combs, brushes, ribbons and clips (Marie Laveau was a hairdresser by trade), foods such as fried pork and coconut cake, cigars, Florida Water, and, of course, rum. Mambo Sallie Ann repeats her waterside ritual in the lobby of the International House Hotel in New Orleans each June 24th, St. John’s Day.

 

No. 3: Priestess Miriam Chamani
Priestess Miriam gives Consultations and African Bone Readings both in person and via the telephone.  She specializes in Voodoo Weddings, Damballah for Healing, and Erzulie for Love.  Priestess Miriam designs Voodoo Dolls and Kits tailored to each person's needs and desires.

Priestess Miriam gives Consultations and African Bone Readings both in person and via the telephone. She specializes in Voodoo Weddings, Damballah for Healing, and Erzulie for Love. Priestess Miriam designs Voodoo Dolls and Kits tailored to each person's needs and desires.

Priestess Miriam was born and raised in Mississippi where she experienced the power of mysterious spiritual forces beginning in early childhood. Around 1975 the power of the spirit called strongly to Priestess Miriam leading her to many spiritual orders and ultimately to a seat at the Angel All Nations Spiritual Church. There she increased her knowledge of spirit and explored metaphysical concepts and teachings.

In October 1982 she was consecrated as Bishop of the Church and served there until 1989. In 1990, Priestess Miriam and her late husband Oswan Chamani settled in New Orleans where they founded the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, the only temple of its kind in the City at that time.

Priestess Miriam is praised as an unbiased and unprejudiced spiritual guide who sees people not by race or color but by what is in their hearts. At the Voodoo Spiritual Temple Priestess Miriam offers many kinds of traditional Vodoun spiritual services with Voodoo Weddings being the most popular.

Priestess Miriam Chamani is the Mombo (Mother/Priestess) of the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple. The Temple is located next to Congo Square and the its rituals are directly connected to the rituals performed on Congo Square by Marie Laveau and Doctor John. It was established in 1990 by Priest Oswan Chamani and his wife Miriam. It is the only formally established Spiritual Temple with a focus on traditional West African spiritual and herbal healing practices currently existing in New Orleans. "Mother" or "Mombo" Miriam, as she is also known, was ordained a bishop in the "Angel Angel All Nations Spiritual Church" prior to her marriage. She has been in numerous documentaries and articles; her photo was in the New York Times as part of an article on Voodoo in New Orleans, and she's been featured in Spin Magazine, in movies, and on PBS and commercial TV in America, England and Japan. She has appeared at both the Starwood Festival and the WinterStar Symposium as both a speaker and a liturgist. She was one of the first priestesses to present authentic Voodoo rituals to the Neo-Pagan community, along with Louis Martinie' and the Temple drummers of the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple (Krewe of Nutria). Upon the death of her husband, Voodoo Priest Oswan Chamani on March 6, 1995, Miriam Chamani continued her husband's Belizan Vodou and herbalism traditions in addition to her own spiritualist practices, and continues many of the inclusive trends of Black Christian Spiritualism, seeking to serve all peoples regardless of race or belief.
Chamani was invited by actor Nicholas Cage to perform a blessing ceremony during his wedding to Lisa Marie Presley, after hiring her as a consultant for his directoral debut Sonny. On Halloween, 1999, a local radio station asked her to perform a ceremony outside the Superdome to help the New Orleans Saints win against the Cleveland Browns (which was interrupted by harassment from a Browns fan dressed as a dog).

Voodoo - Priestess Miriam Chamani (CD recorded at the Voodoo Spiritual Temple) 2004 (Jose Suescun Music Distribution www.mambitorecords.com)

The Voodoo Spiritual Temple was established in 1990 by Priestess Miriam and Priest Oswan Chamani. It is the only "formally" established Spiritual Temple with a focus on traditional West African spiritual and herbal healing practices currently existing in New Orleans. On March 6, 1995, Priest Oswan ) transcended into the arms of the ancestors but Priestess Miriam continues to carry on the tradition of the Temple along with the Spirit of Oswan. The Voodoo Spiritual Temple has extended its spirituality across the world and is opening a Temple in Russia.



No. 4: Ava Kay Jones

Voodoo Yoruba Priestess Ava Kay Jones poses with her South American Red Tailed Boa during the Saints win against the Rams.

Voodoo and Yoruba Priestess Ava Kay Jones educates the public in the true nature of the Voodoo religion. Ava Kay Jones Voodu priestess of New Orleans was an attorney by trade when she chose the path of her spiritual calling.

Voodoo and Yoruba Priestess Ava Kay Jones was an attorney by trade before she chose the path of her true spiritual calling. One of only twenty practicing Voodoo Mambos in the US, Ava Kay Jones has enthralled locals and visitors alike with her dynamic presentation of authentic voodoo rituals as practiced in the days of Marie Laveau. Priestess Ava is also the founder and featured performer of the Voodoo Macumba Dance Ensemble, a performance group of drummers, dancers, fire-eaters, and sword and snake dancers. Priestess Ava and Voodoo Macumba have performed in movies, at festivals, and, most notably, in the Superdome conducting blessing ceremonies for the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints contracted Quint Davis and his company Festival Productions Inc. (the team that produces Jazz Fest and the Essence Festival) to handle entertainment for the Saints' home games. According to Wayne Hodes, director of marketing for the Saints, approximately two weeks before the Saints/Rams game on Dec. 17, 2002, Hodes' office asked Davis to hire Ava Kay Jones, a well-known Voodoo and Yoruba priestess, to do a blessing before the game.

Jones, who was raised Catholic, says she is still very much a Christian. She was ordained as a Voodoo priestess in Haiti in 1985, and as a Yoruba priestess in 1989. She is frequently interviewed on the subject of Voodoo, which she says is misunderstood due to inaccurate portrayals, fear and prejudice. She says she is committed to educating the public about the faith she has so deeply embraced.

Video : New Orleans Voodoo from the Inside
 Starring: Priestess Ava Kay Jones Director: Priestess Ava Kay Jones Rating


No. 5: Queen Margaret


Queen Margaret, born and educated in Louisiana, has taught in Public Schools of her home state and in Georgia. She began at early stages of her life to recognize spiritual abilities in all, and has been effective in her psychic observations which centered around her family, colleagues, and students. During classroom affiliation, she began to study metaphysical concepts as a means of achieving personal peace and in a natural turn of events, she now helps others using the methods that she has seen work in her own life. She has participated in this life visibly as a teacher, psychoanalyst, and medium in the metaphysical world. Mother Margaret is affiliated with the Psychic Friends Network, Marvin Johnson's study group, Science of Mind and the Unity church (St. Charles). Currently, she is employed as a tour guide and reader at the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum where she shares her lifetime of knowledge with others. Queen Margaret's contributions in all of these areas have been very commendable as well as gratifying to her on a personal level.
www.voodoomuseum.com/staff.htm




No. 6: ARMANDO
The King of New Orleans Voodoo
Aemando The Voodoo King



Armando does his Voodoo grave ritual every day at the tomb Marie Laveau. This Voodoo blessing and cleansing is strong and powerful says Armando. Armando is a devotee to Chicken Mans special brand of Voodoo. Armando has a shrine in his homme to Chicken Man and does many private and public rituals each year. Prince Ke’eyama, The Chicken Man, died in December 1998. His ashes were donated to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple where they are kept enshrined by Sister Miriam Chamani.

It is largely because of this early ostracizing by the popular vodusi of the time that a secret following soon began to materialize around Prince Ke’eyama: called The Cult of the Chicken Man, this following became one of the largest secret sosyetes since that founded by Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in her lifetime, and like Laveau’s sosyete, The Cult of the Chicken Man still endures today. Among devotees, one man could claim most of the credit for keeping the faith: that man is Armando, The Chicken Man priest.

Armando, a Cuban orphan, was taken in by Prince Ke’eyama who, together with his wife Bobby, raised the young refugee. Now 48, Armando is a practicing voodoo priest who claims to be the rightful heir of the Chicken Man legacy.

“He took me in, raised me,” Armando says. “He wanted me when no one else did. Into his world, he brought me step by step, becoming my blessed Padreno – my teacher and protector.”

Armando’s tiny apartment on the edge of the French Quarter is dominated by the continuing presence of the man he once called “father.” A large portrait of The Chicken Man graces a giant altar dedicated to his memory. The Chicken Man looks out from under the brim of his familiar straw hat, perpetually smiling down on the work Armando is doing in his name.

The altar is decorated in red and white silk and accented with tassels of gold and beading. Red and white candles are constantly burning among the many objects of devotion placed there daily by Armando and the Chicken Man’s followers. Most touching are the tiny straw hats – doll’s hats, actually – that followers have left in memory of a man whom they held in the highest regard. Offerings of food and drink, especially rum, intermingle with bottles of Florida Water, cigars, and what is probably hundreds of chicken effigies of all sorts – little porcelain chickens, plaster and chalk, some carved of wood, some store bought – all placed lovingly by Armando in honor of this famous man.

Armando claims that The Chicken Man passed on not only his legacy but his great power to his chosen priest, and since the Prince’s death, Armando has been the guiding force behind the old sosyete. Unlike his predecessor, however, Armando does not believe in public performances of voodoo. Some associates of this reigning voodoo priest believe this is mostly because he does not want to share the rituals and power passed on by The Chicken Man with a voodoo community that still looks on this great man of power as a “circus sideshow.”

“He once told me that he didn’t mind being called a sham and a fool,” Armando says. “He didn’t mind being so put down in the public eye, because he knew he had the belief of the people that mattered to him, and he knew he was truly helping people every day. That is more than most people can claim, to say that they have helped at least one person every day they are alive.

Prince Ke’eyama, it seems, was content to be the butt of jokes and laughter. “He said to me, “After all, what do I care? I can be a fool to the public because they know [the vodusi] I am the True King of Voodoo in private,’” said Armando.

“I only come forward now to see that the true story of Chicken Man is told,” he concludes, “Especially now that he is being seen by so many people all over the City.”*
Stories, lies and fabrications abound about The Chicken Man. Many of them were fabricated by him personally, many more were created by others jealous of his popularity and his craft. His followers, however, know the true Prince behind the public image, and they know that his voodoo was the real thing. It will stand the test of time.


No. 7: Scully Elly Maistros


Scully Elly Maistros is a world famous Vodou practitioner and a Haitian Hounzi Kanzo initiate. She has enjoyed exceptional exposure through her “voodoo joint” – really a botanica and spiritual oasis located in the popular Louie’s Juke Joint – where she has guided everyone from the experienced practitioner to the curious novice. Elly is a dedicated and respected Vodoun who has made important contributions to the practice and understanding of New Orleans Voodoo; she is an expert in the use of herbs and roots with an extensive knowledge of obscure naturopathic applications. In this regard she is New Orleans’ leading Grune Hexe, or “hedge witch.”
World famous Vodou practioner and Hatian Hounzi-Kanzo initiate, Scully Elly, presents for you here the only full online voodoo botanical on the net.


“Born and raised as a ‘Delta Babe’ and grown to become known as the ‘Cultural Diva’ … and more specifically the ‘Poet Priestess of the Spirit of New Orleans’,” Mary Millan, known as “Bloody Mary” to all, claims to be a true spokeswoman for her hometown. She was born on the bayou and raised in the Crescent City, inheriting a strong spiritual tradition of clairvoyance and healing from her family. Mary has been visited by spirits all her life and as an adult she has channeled these spiritual powers into her work in vodoun and magick. A popular local historian and tour guide, Bloody Mary has been instrumental in educating the wider public about the unique “gumbo” that is the city of New Orleans.

Member of Southern Order of Storytellers
Louisiana Folklore Society
C.G. Jung Society
Friends of New Orleans Cemeteries
New Orleans Convention Visitors Bureau
OFFICIAL WEB SITE FOR BLOODY MARY www.bloodymarystours.com


No. 9: Rev. Mother Severina KarunaMayi Singh


Mother Severina inherited her psychic ability and intuition through her family’s Gypsy background and has performed spiritual counseling and Tarot divination since her youth. She learned about folk remedies and healing herbs from her mother. She is very much involved in dream and trance work; primarily clairaudient, she is sometimes clairvoyant as well. Mother Severina practices Vodoun and Yoruba traditions, as well as Sufism and metaphysical practices. She is also the founder of the New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads Dance and Drum Ensemble, a popular troupe performing at festivals, voodoo weddings and other events.
New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads was founded in 1991 as a vehicle for the dissemination of true and accurate information about the beliefs and practices of the Voodoo religion in New Orleans. She offessr the finest products and services in the Tradition of New Orleans Voodoo.


Momma Alice is a Voodoo Priestess of great inner strength and power, famed for her root magick and specialized rituals encompassing all aspects of traditional New Orleans Voodoo, Hoodoo and Santeria. Momma Alice has performed many public and private rituals throughout the New Orleans region over the years but now prefers to stay out of the limelight. Guided by her spirits and ancestors to work humbly and guilelessly, Momma Alice remains reticent about not becoming “another tourist attraction.” Beloved by all who know and follow her, Momma Alice is one of the best traditionalist workers of the craft in the entire New Orleans area.



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The Monkey and The Cock is said to grant to it's Lucky owner three significant wishes over a three year period . Passed virtually unchanged in form, generation to generation, comes this strange,"Monkey and Cock" curio statue as Voodoo dolls

They are highly detailed yet gentle monochromatic pieces and will blend in with any decor.  Some are seasonal, some are silly, but all are unique and one of a kind. Also, they are signed.
Find out how to "Be Seen" in the above spot

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