Voodoo Tour, New Orleans

Voodoo Tour (Self Guided), New Orleans

Voodoo is an ancient ritualistic practice brought by enslaved West Africans onto the American soil upon their arrival in the 18th century. This form of religion was most prominent in New Orleans from the 1820s through the 1860s, when it was introduced by the “Voodoo Queens”. Of these, Marie Laveau became more prominent as she overthrew other queens to become the sole oracle.

Your best introduction to the still surviving culture would be Voodoo Authentica, which, albeit small, houses a variety of interesting objects, such as an impressive collection of African masks. The staff is very accommodating, but the best part is that they’re all Voodoo practitioners who can give the straight scoop. If seeking a ‘spiritual cleansing’ or reading, definitely stop by.

Another good jumping-off point to learn about many curious practices, the Historic Voodoo Museum is full of history and character, charms and chants, standing close to “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau’s own house just around the corner.

Further along the road, Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo is a great spot for non-practitioners, who will appreciate that items are explained with ample description/signage, and prices are clearly marked. The proprietor is very well-informed and helpful, if you ask specific questions and truly have an interest in the religion.

To learn more about Voodoo and expand on the fascinating history of New Orleans, take this self-guided walking tour!
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Voodoo Tour Map

Guide Name: Voodoo Tour
Guide Location: USA » New Orleans (See other walking tours in New Orleans)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Voodoo Authentica
  • Historic Voodoo Museum
  • Marie Laveau House of Voodoo
  • Voodoo Blues
  • Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo
  • Voodoo Spiritual Temple
  • Congo Square
  • Saint Louis Cemetery Number One
Voodoo Authentica

1) Voodoo Authentica

Voodoo Authentica is a practitioner-owned and operated shop dedicated to Voodoo, located on the quiet and picturesque Dumaine Street in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Established in 1996, this is also a temple, a cultural center and educational space which accommodates Voodoo experts performing rituals, spell readings, spiritual work and consultations.

Here you will find a complete line of locally handmade Voodoo dolls, gris gris bags, potion oils & candles, much as any other unique traditional New Orleanian, Haitian or African Voodoo-related item for sale. Everyone working here is a practitioner of Voodoo, and everything in this snug shop (save the African and Haitian art pieces) are made by local staff, mostly right here in the shop.

If you have any questions, need a bit of spiritual guidance or are genuinely interested in Voodoo practice, any of the in-house specialists will be able to help you. Even if you need some advice on some good places to eat in the vicinity, feel free to step in!

Operation Hours:
Monday - Sunday: 11 am - 7 pm
Historic Voodoo Museum

2) Historic Voodoo Museum

Strange, unique, spooky, fun, and scary, this museum, established in 1972, offers a curious and introductory insight into the world of Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo. Despite consisting of only two rooms, it is jam-packed with historical Voodoo relics, paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts. It is quite interesting to see whether you are just discovering Voodoo or you are a die-hard fanatic.

The local priestess will even give you a psychic reading in person or by phone. For those who wish to take the experience further, ritual services with local practitioners – from blessings and curse removals to weddings and other ceremonies – can be arranged.

They limit visitors in the museum proper, and as two come out, two more can go in – which means you can see everything without feeling rushed. The gift shop sells love potions, books, chicken feet, gris-gris bags, snake oils, books, dolls, candles, and other mementos.

Operation Hours:
Daily: 10 am–6 pm
Marie Laveau House of Voodoo

3) Marie Laveau House of Voodoo

When in New Orleans, be sure to stop by Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo at the world famous Bourbon Street in the historic French Quarter. This museum and store is set on the site of the former home of the second Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, daughter of the first Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau, and first opened its doors in 1988. Since then a popular spot, it has been equally enjoyed by locals, tourists and the strangely curious.

Marie Laveau II used to live here with her children up until around 1895. She was known for her wild rituals in the swamps around New Orleans, during one of which, performed at Lake Pontchartrain in the outskirts of the city, she reportedly drowned thus causing her ghost to start haunting the house since. Some visitors claim to have seen it linger around during spiritual readings in the backroom, while others reported having felt her icy fingers on their shoulders. Uhhh!

Other than the ghost though, inside the shop you will find all sorts of eye-catching odds and ends, a Voodoo Altar, occult books and a wide array of items for sale set to help in both learning and practicing spiritual and religious ceremonies. There is also a wealth of tribal masks and statues from around the world to be found, symbolizing ancestors connection with the spirit and earth, plus numerous talismans and charms directed towards many different supplications. Also, in addition to retail items, there are psychic and spiritual readings, spells and Tarot card readings held here each day, from 12:00pm until closing, in the backroom. Other types of readings are also available upon request.

On busy days, people show up at opening to sign up for readings, so arrive early to secure a spot if this is what you desire.

Operation Hours:
Sunday - Thursday: 10 am - 11.30 pm; Friday - Saturday: 10 am - 1.30 am.
Voodoo Blues

4) Voodoo Blues

Voodoo Blues is a small gift shop located on Bourbon Street. Not really a place to come with your children, because you might find the things sold here a bit too scary and obscene. Voodoo Blues specializes in selling tarot cards and Voodoo books, as well as some interesting greeting cards.
Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo

5) Reverend Zombie's House of Voodoo

Virtually unchanged since the early 19th century, the location of fabled Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo is one of New Orlean's two shops (the other being Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street) recreating the authentic mysterious ambiance of the old stores in the French Quarter which used to supply Voodoo practitioners with their mojo bags, herbs, and talismans. The admixture of tarot card readers, traditional African art, and Brazilian, Cuban and Haitian artifacts available here captures the early ethnic and spiritual diversity of the Quarter. Inside the three-room space, filled floor-to-ceiling with merchandise and props, you will find multiple altars (none to be touched!!!) and tiny, hand-written signs everywhere describing the objects, dropping witty notes to customers, and asking them to behave.

Found here is practically any book on the occult, plus tons of Voodoo items (dolls, masks, charms, spells, candles), and other awesome New Orleans relic and merchandise (taxidermy, statues, crystals, essential oils, tarot decks, t-shirts, and more) you can possibly look for, along with the instructions, if need be, on how to use it. You will also find a lot of weird souvenirs to amaze your friends and family back home with.

Among their most popular spell kits are “Other Attorney Be Stupid” and “Hex Your Ex.”
For those interested, there is a prop-fence hanging from the ceiling that was used in “Interview With a Vampire.”
You are not allowed to take photos – seriously, just don't!
Also, don't touch any of the stuff you're not supposed to touch and be generally respectful to the house rules, and it will be ONE OF THE COOLEST places you've ever seen.

Operation Hours:
Sun – Thu, 10:00 am - 11:30 pm
Fri – Sat, 10:00 am - 1:30 pm
Voodoo Spiritual Temple

6) Voodoo Spiritual Temple

Located at 828 North Rampart Street in the French Quarter, the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple is sitting just across from Historic Congo Square Park where African slaves used to hold their rituals every Sunday evening, back in the 1700s-1800s. Established by Priest Oswan Chamani and Priestess Miriam Chamani in May 1990, over the years this temple has grown in its knowledge of Voodoo in relation to world religions, and currently serves many a people throughout America and the world. The temple follows a unique version of Voodoo that combines elements of other spiritual paths with traditional practices. It has gained popularity through television and movie production, and is often visited by representatives of universities, anthropologists, and researchers in African-based religion.

The temple has a troupe of sacred drummers, called the Krewe of Nutria, which is led, in part, by Louis Martinié. The drummers often play for the New Orleans Voodoo Museum and at various local functions. The temple combines several Voodoo traditions from all over the world, and has lots of altars inside. There's also a souvenir shop on the premises, and the owner, Priestess Miriam, is always glad to welcome curios guests.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Congo Square

7) Congo Square

Visitors to New Orleans can experience a bit of African Culture whenever they visit Congo Square located in Louis Armstrong Park in the Treme neighborhood. Back in the day, this square served as a gathering spot for African slaves on their free day of Sunday. In 1817 the mayor of New Orleans designated an open area within the city to be used by slaves as a meeting place.

Originally named Place de Negres, then Place Publique, and then Circus Square, the plaza enabled slaves to honor their culture through song and dance. They could also sell their wares at the local market. The colonial French slavery style allowed slaves much more freedom than the rest of the United States. Slaves could move freely within the square.

As the United States slavery style became more prevalent, the gatherings occurred less and less and finally ceased completely about 10 years before the end of slavery. After the abolition of slavery in the late 19th century, Congo Square once again came to life when Creoles of Color began to play their music here, thus giving birth to the new music genre later known as Jazz.

Outside music and dance, Congo Square also provided enslaved blacks with a place in which they could express themselves spiritually. The brief freedom of conscience that they enjoyed on Sundays resulted in the practice of Voodoo ceremonies. Although this was not the most noted recreational activity people partook in here, it was nonetheless one of the many forms of entertainment and social gatherings they practiced.

Marie Laveau, the first and most powerful “Voodoo queen” of New Orleans, is one of the best known practitioners of Voodoo in Congo Square. In the 1830s, she led Voodoo dances as well as organized darker, more covert rituals along the banks of Lake Pontchartrain and St. John's Bayou.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

8) Saint Louis Cemetery Number One (must see)

It may seem odd to have a cemetery for tourist attraction, but not for the city like New Orleans, it's not. The above ground resting places are an important part of local history and display an array of beautiful Spanish and French design monuments. Two of the city's most famous cemeteries are Saint Louis Cemetery #1 and #2.

Saint Louis Cemetery #1 was established in 1789, replacing the old Saint Petersburg Cemetery, and is now part of the African American Heritage Trail in the city. It is located eight blocks away from the Mississippi River on Basin Street. The cemetery spans just one square block but is a resting place for many thousands. Numerous notable individuals have been buried here, in the crypts and tombs, including prominent locals like the civil rights activist Homer Plessy, the sugar industry pioneer Etienne de Boré, the architect and surveyor who allegedly became one of Jean Lafitte's pirates Barthelemy Lafon, and one of the earliest world champions of chess Paul Morphy. The renowned Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is also interred in the Glapion family crypt at this cemetery.

Other notable New Orleanians buried here include Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial, the first African-American mayor of New Orleans, and Bernard de Marigny, the French-Creole aristocrat and politician who founded both the Faubourg Marigny and Mandeville, Louisiana. Delphine LaLaurie, the notoriously cruel slave owner, is also believed to be laid to rest here. In 2010, actor Nicolas Cage purchased a pyramid-shaped tomb to be his future final resting place.

It seems like the church has closed the #1 cemetery to self-guided tours due to the unwanted late night ceremonies and vandalism; however, you can book a guided tour, day-side (be sure it is led by a guide with a license to enter the cemetery and not just to talk about it outside the walls). If you're not a fan of guides or tours, try the #2 cemetery, which is free to enter.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-3pm; Sun: 9am-12pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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