By Elizabeth Thomas Crocker
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Extra resources for A Trinity of Beliefs and a Unity of the Sacred: Modern Vodou Pratices in New Orleans (thesis)
Guidebooks and tours weave paths through New Orleans using history, folklore, and urban legends to create a space filled with the supernatural and mystical. Some of these locales are unknown to the interviewed practitioners, but others are considered spaces set apart from the normal, secular world. Two examples are Congo Square and the gravesite of Marie Laveau, both spots that guidebooks like Frommer's and Only in Louisiana suggest visiting on one’s own or on a guided 45 tour (2003, 1994). Manbo Sallie Ann holds rituals at these sites and other research reveals that her group is not the only one.
This organizes the secular space around it so that The Faithful respect the altar as an area set apart from the rest of the home. This reverence for the dead extends beyond altars in the home to spaces which Brenda Marie Osbey views as sacred grounds, such as graveyards and Congo Square (see figure #9). “I think of cemeteries as, literally, sacred spaces because of the way we think about the dead. And, we’re taught to make the sign of the cross when you enter a cemetery because you’re crossing into another territory… And, so the cross that we’re making isn’t the Catholic cross.
These stores all have supplies used by practitioners as well as items in which the casual tourist might be interested. These shops create an interesting space in that they are for both tourists and practitioners. They are secular retail shops but at the same time, many contain sacred altars that turn the area into a religious space. The altars attract tourists who 34 Figure 5 Tourists at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo during Mardi Gras 2008. " Photo taken by author February 4, 2008. 35 want to see “real Vodou” but also lend an air of authenticity to draw in practitioners who might purchase the larger ticket items.
A Trinity of Beliefs and a Unity of the Sacred: Modern Vodou Pratices in New Orleans (thesis) by Elizabeth Thomas Crocker