There is a mystical force that resides in New Orleans in the form of palm readers, street vending witch doctors, and card readers. Vodun, or commonly known as Voodoo, has quite the rich history. Famously portrayed in the Disney movie, Princess and the Frog, Voodoo is practiced by many types of people, from the malevolent to the free spirit.
In real-world culture, Vodun has over 50 deities and is practiced by the Aja, Ewe and Fon peoples of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria. It is also practiced by decedents of slaves brought from the aforementioned countries.
Vodun’s most prominent feature as a religion is that Vodun is one of less than 25 actively practiced polytheistic religions in the world, with about 50 deities. Vodun is tied extremely close to nature, with the ideology that everything has a spirit, whether it be a stone, or a tree. They all have a spirit that can be communed with, regardless of what form the spirit is. With its practice in New Orleans, which is unfortunately being affected by hurricane Ian, historians have tied the modern practice to early American slaves. Lake Ponchartrain was a famous meeting place of practitioners back in the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of the most famous practitioners is Marie Laveau, the most famous Voodoo Queen in the mid to late 1800s. She was born a free woman of color to a white Frenchman and a mother of Black and Native American descent. She had opened a high-class hair saloon where she would listen in on gossip from the patrons and from servants of patrons. By doing this, she quickly became the Queen of Voodoo. Her practice has left a legacy that is the Voodoo we see today in New Orleans, with talismans, dolls, and beautiful shrines to the multiple deities. In modern adaptations, Marie Laveau is portrayed in FX’s American Horror Story: Coven as a hairdressing Voodoo Queen who has surpassed the mortal bindings through a deal with Papa Legba, a Vodun deity who is the crossroad between the spirit and mortal world.