New Orleans, the French Quarter, the morning after. A little weary, a little tawdry, a little worse for wear before that first cup of chicory-laced coffee.
Walking through the streets, now oddly quiet after the tumultuous competition of music styles and garish outfits the night before, one finds small corners of beauty: a sparkling glass globe in a shop window, a flower blooming in a basket overhead on a wrought iron-enclosed balcony.
People on the street this morning seem to have more purpose. Our purpose, after the afore-mentioned coffee, is to explore the dark arts of VooDoo.
At the Historic Voodoo Museum, we enter the dim hallway and read the story of Marie Laveau, one of the most famous queens of the mysterious rituals. We were invited to take photos, and I’ll share some of them here, with great respect for the religious significance of the objects and depictions. This shows a typical altar collection for a voodoo ritual. So many interesting bits and pieces!
One of the central symbols for the ritual is often a snake, representing Damballah, the serpent god. Voodoo priestesses dance with the snake to invoke its powers. The voodoo museum housed a large snake for many years, well-cherished, but she has now passed on. Here is a picture of a statue and also a representation in wood of a serpent.
In the museum, as well as some of the other voodoo shops,, a hollow tree trunk awaits gifts of money or candy from visitors, who are encouraged to leave a written wish for intercession by the gods. I’m not sure how much voodoo gods know about our alphabet collection of mental health back home, but we entered a few requests for improvement–just in case.
Moving on to less magical territory, we walked down to the Mississippi, intending to take a ferry out on the water, but that never quite came together. We did take a stroll on the Moonwalk, and people-watched at St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square.
We did finally get some powdered-sugar drenched beignets at Cafe du Monde, and sipped cafe au lait as we walked along the mighty river, not as muddy as I recalled it. All too soon our brief respite was done, and we headed back to rescue M from the children. Maybe someday a book tour will take us there again, when we can spend more time and soak up more of the Creole flavor of one of the great cities of the American South. Laissez les bon temps roulez!