Search | Mostly Cloudy, 82 F (28 C) RSS | ||
Come see the in-demand bassist perform with his own band tonight
Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers
Les Bon Temps Roule (10:00 PM)
Candlelight Lounge (8:00PM)
Shake your brass in the Treme with a blend of hip hop, R&B, and pop
Maple Leaf (8:00PM)
One of New Orleans’ best percussionist invites his friends to the stage
PubliQ House (9:30PM)
Brass with electric guitar and keyboard
Chickie Wah Wah (8:00PM)
Americana from Austin
City Park (6:00PM)
Thursdays at Twilight, tonight with one of New Orleans’ premiere contemporary jazz pianists
Gasa Gasa (8:30PM)
Hosted by the Swamp Lilies, feat. Greg Good
Mid City Lanes Rock N Bowl (8:30PM)
Zydeco from Ville Platte
Ogden Museum (6:00PM)
Tonight, Jimbo Mathus performs while guests enjoy contemporary southern art after hours, sip on cocktails, and enjoy grub from Miss Linda’s Soul Food Catering
Voodoo Authentica Owner Talks About Tomorrow's Fest and the Widely Misunderstood Tradition
The Voodoo Music and Art Experience has come and gone, but Voodoo Fest is fast approaching. For fourteen years, Voodoo Authentica (612 Dumaine) has hosted a free daylong series of events to honor the Voodoo religion for its contributions to New Orleans’ culture, encourage the preservation of the practice, and educate those who may only know of Voodoo through its oversimplified and often erroneous presentation in media.
Voodoo (or Vodou, as it is spelled in Haiti) is a deeply misunderstood religion, often exploited for western commercial gain. Tomorrow’s festival will take place from 1-7pm, and will host a number of Voodoo Priests and Priestesses who will provide the seminar component of the fest as well as the consultations and homemade goods.
Brooklyn’s Vodou Priestess Mama Lola is in town, along with Mambo Maggie, local Voodoo Priest Elmer T. Glover, Marie Laveau Researcher Dr. Ina Fandrich, local musicians Sunpie & Luther Gray of Bamboula 2000, and the Voodoo Authentica Ritual Troupe.
Owner of Voodoo Authentica and festival founder Brandi Kelley says she started her business to guard the practice of Voodoo and perpetuate its legitimate use in the city.
“This is an actual practitioner-run establishment,” explains Kelley. “Whether you’re a visitor or a local, you’ve got some place to get free information and to buy something to bring back home that’s actually made in New Orleans if you need to do love, health, or prosperity work.”
Kelley says the biggest misconception people tend to hold about Voodoo is that the “Voodoo Doll,” is a tool used to harm others. In actuality, the pins that practitioners use are a kind of “spiritual acupuncture,” according to the believer.
“People have this idea from movies and media that people use the Voodoo doll for harm. We use the pins in the doll as a way to focus energy on certain areas, whether they be human need, desire, or bodily health,” she clarifies.
According to Kelley, a pin in the heart of a Voodoo doll could easily be intended to alleviate suffering from heart disease, or it could be a tool to mend someone’s figurative “broken heart.” One thing Kelley said a true Voodoo practitioner would never do would be to use the doll as a means to harm another individual.
“I’m not saying that no one practices black magic, but trained Voodoo practitioners do not practice black magic,” says Kelley. Not only is “devil worship,” absent from the practice, the aged tradition actually embodies many elements of Catholicism. Kelley considers herself to be a Catholic Voodoo Practitioner.
“I am a Catholic, I am an initiated Voodoo practitioner,” she says. “There is no conflict for me personally. Catholics with no exposure to Voodoo except a James Bond movie will say ‘no way you can do that,’ but there really isn’t a conflict between the two."
Haitian Vodou, which had a tremendous effect on what evolved into New Orleans Voodoo due to the slave trade, blends Catholic Saints with Vodou Lwas (spirits). Kelley explains that many Vodou practitioners were enslaved and brought to New Orleans from the Caribbean, filling the desires of French-speaking slave owners to enslave people who spoke their language.
“You have Voodoo that came directly from Africa and also Voodoo that had begun to mix with Caribbean practices and Catholicism,” Kelley goes on. “So much of New Orleans is African, we recognize the French and the Spanish influences but very seldom do we acknowledge the African in our culture.”
Once she’s convinced skeptics that Voodoo doesn’t equate to devil worship, Kelley says one of the most common topics people ask about in consultations is romance and money.
“A lot of people come in to find out what is going on with their love lives,” she says. “They ask, ‘what’s going on with my current relationship?’ Others feel blocked in their careers. A reading is a way to evaluate where you are and where you would be going if you continue on your current path,” Kelley explains. Practitioners rely on energies as well as guidance from the spirit world to give advice.
“Sometimes you’ll get a ‘this department is going great, but this other one has some cards that aren’t so great,’ sometimes you’ll get a ‘right on! You’re doing the right thing,’” says Kelley.
The lectures will provide education from experts as well as from locally loved musicians such as Sunpie.
“Sunpie talks about the spiritual influences of his music, Luther Gray talks about the African traditions that he incorporates into his music,” says Kelley.
Tomorrow, guests can purchase African and Haitian art, potion oils made by practitioners, gris gris bags, Voodoo Dolls and handmade crafts at the fest. The fest will end at 7pm with a closing healing ritual from Haitian Vodou Priestesses Mama Lola and Mambo Maggie, New Orleans own Doctor Glover, percussionist Luther Gray, and the award winning Voodoo Authentica Ritual Troupe.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
Published Daily by
Minced Media, Inc.