Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in New Orleans Voodoo ~ A Glimpse into the History of our legendary Voodoo Practitioners
Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in the New Orleans Voodoo tradition. A fun and informative glimpse into the history of the more legendary Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors that formed the unique and magical New Orleans Voodoo practice. This sacred spiritual tradition is still heavily practiced today in both New Orleans and Louisiana. Note: the spelling of the word Voodoo in this section versus our articles on Haitian Vodou. This is to reflect the American influence on Voodoo as practiced in the new world.
This overview on the history of our Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in New Orleans is not intended to provide the complete history of the development of the Voodoo tradition, as that would require volumes of information. Instead, we wanted to provide an educational overview on with the roots, myths, magic, and legendary practitioners who influenced the distinct New Orleans Voodoo tradition and formed our cultural heritage.
Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in New Orleans. To learn more about the History of New Orleans Voodoo, Vodou Religion, Vodou Beliefs and, browse our vast collection of educational Voodoo articles prepared by caring, initiated Vodou practitioners at Erzulie’s. Due to the deep roots of the Voodoo tradition in New Orleans, learn what a Psychic Reading and Spiritual Consultation with an initiated Voodoo practitioner can bring into your spiritual session with this helpful article on what those spiritual services can do for you. Alafia from all of us at Erzulie’s in New Orleans!
Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in New Orleans Voodoo:
Before the American purchase of the Territory of Louisiana and the subsequent suppression of Voodoo, Congo Square gatherings had grown, by some accounts, to as many as 600 hundred participants and onlookers. Historical accounts suggest Voodoo reached its peak in New Orleans around 1820-1860, despite measures taken by those in authority to suppress it. Demand for Voodoo services thrived in New Orleans not only among slaves and free people of color, but among other races as well. Local Voodoo lore indicates some of Voodoo’s popularity can be attributed to the spectacular rituals performed by the first recorded Voodoo Queen, Sanite De De. Very little is known about this woman from Santo Domingo, but the record suggests that Sanite De De purchased her own freedom through Voodoo rituals.
Sanite De De is said to have originally performed her Voodoo rituals in her courtyard on the corner of Dumaine and Chartres in the French Quarter. Incidentally, the original storefront of Erzulie’s was located on the same corner, at 510 Rue Dumaine. According to legend, the rhythmic beats of her rituals could be heard during mass at St. Louis Cathedral. As the story goes, this was highly displeasing to church officials, and Sanite De De’s rituals triggered the 1811 ban of all non-Catholic worship within the city limits.
By 1820, Voodoo priestesses were gaining considerable followings. It was during this peak period that the most famous Voodoo Queen, the legendary Marie Laveau, rose to prominence. “Mamzelle” Laveau or “The Widow Paris,” was a free woman of color and devoutly religious. She was also a skilled businesswoman with numerous white and powerful clients. Her knowledge of Voodoo ceremony was said to have come from her mentor, Sanite De De. By 1830, Marie Laveau was considered the Voodoo Queen, both feared and respected for powerful Voodoo rituals, for making gris-gris, and for her keen business sense.
There is uncertainty surrounding the birth of New Orleans’ most famous Voodoo Queen. Some believe Marie Laveau was born in New Orleans, a free woman of color, in 1796. Other sources put her birth date in 1794, and her birthplace Saint Domingue. Most accounts agree she was devoutly Catholic, attended Mass every day of her life, and provided humanitarian services for the community. She is most renowned for her Voodoo love magic.
Despite the historical ambiguity of her origins, there is no dispute that Marie Laveau was the most powerful Voodoo Queen during her reign, and she is still considered so today. Marie II, one of 15 children born to Marie Laveau and Christophe Glapion, succeeded her mother as the reigning Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Thousands of visitors each year flock to the Glapion family tomb at St. Louis #1 cemetery, where Marie Laveau is said to be buried, to petition her assistance. Volumes of fascinating research has been published on our beloved Voodoo Queen, and we recommend a few outstanding articles in our Voodoo Articles section of our site.
Voodoo Queens weren’t the only New Orleans practitioners to reach legendary status. New Orleans also had many powerful Root Doctors who taught the art of conjure and magic. The most famous New Orleans Root Doctor was Dr. John Montenet, also known as Bayou John, an African priest and freed slave. Dr. John was said to have had red and blue snakes tattooed on his face to represent the royal Senegalese family of which he was a decedent. Doctor John rose to fame in New Orleans as a masterful Voodoo drummer, wealth magician, and accurate fortune teller. He was so skilled at wealth magic, that the famed New Orleans root, “High-John the Conqueror Root” is named after Dr. John. During the peak of Voodoo in the 1820s – 1860s, Dr. John is said to have worked closely with the Voodoo Queens of Congo Square and to have played a hand in mentoring Marie Laveau.
New Orleans Voodoo Today:
After the Civil War in 1865 Voodoo went largely underground and was carefully guarded from outsiders, so the secrets of New Orleans Voodoo are undocumented in the annals of written history. Fortunately, much has been preserved through generations of oral tradition and family lore. Most of the gris-gris bags and charms of today are based upon a particular family’s knowledge or magical formulary. We have devoted entire sections on our site Vodou Spells, Rituals and Magical Fetishes which offers New Orleans Voodoo charms.
Today in New Orleans, rituals are still publicly performed. The Voodoo stores and temples of the French Quarter offer a variety of items, each based on the particular Voodoo knowledge of the individual practitioner. This lack of formality adds to the mystery of New Orleans Voodoo, and makes it immensely different from other African traditional religions. The legacy of the African slaves and their mystical beliefs has left an indelible imprint on the culture and spiritual traditions of this eclectic city and New Orleans will forever be rich with Voodoo mystique, legend, and folklore.
We sincerely hope this overview of our beloved Voodoo Queens and Root Doctors in New Orleans and learning about the legendary Voodoo practitioners and their influences in our modern-day Voodoo tradition, assists you in your exploration of Voodoo as well. We invite you to learn more about the many aspects of the Voodoo religion, Roots of Vodou, Voodoo practitioner spiritual sessions and Voodoo rituals by browsing our vast collection of Voodoo articles written by expert and initiated practitioners from all over the world! We offer extensive and comprehensive Voodoo religion material on our authentic Voodoo App available on iTunes and Google Play, packed with secrets of the Voodoo tradition. Alafia from all of us at Erzulie’s Voodoo in the French Quarter of New Orleans.