If you have an interest in the occult and mysticism, New Orleans’ famous French Quarter is the right place for you to visit. There you’ll find museum dedicated to voodoo, which are just a handful in the world.
The influence of the ancient religion that is dedicated to summoning spirits, can be found in everyday life all over the city. It has become an integral part of the culture of New Orleans, as well as the state of Louisiana. It’s everywhere; form kitschy souvenirs to voodoo-themed cocktails. You’ll find voodoo-related walking tours around the city. Also, private readings are available. Even the 1973 James Bond film “Live and Let Die” was partly set in New Orleans and had voodoo as its main theme.
It’s hardly a surprise that the city is home to a dedicated voodoo museum. It’s equally appropriate that this tiny, yet satisfyingly brimful museum concentrates on New Orleans (or Louisiana) voodoo in particular. However, that’s just about where the predictability of this charmingly ramshackle place ends.
As you make your way through the museum’s two rooms, you’ll be greeted with just about every artifact you can think of. They are dedicated to the unique spiritual practices and beliefs that made their way over from Africa, with the slave trade in the 1700s.
Expect to find voodoo dolls, alters, talismans and taxidermy among a host of other curiosities. At the end of your visit, you be given the opportunity to buy voodoo-related items such as snake skins, chicken feet and potions in the museum gift shop. Famed voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s kneeling bench also finds its home at the museum, while a voodoo priest gives readings on site.
The museum was opened in 1972, by local artist Charles Massicot Gandolfo. Later, he became known as Voodoo Charlie. Over the course of almost half a century, the museum has become much more than simply a place to immerse yourself in some voodoo history and indulge in a spot of trinket purchasing.
Today, the museum also runs popular walking tours of New Orleans’ voodoo landmarks, including the aforementioned Ms Laveau’s tomb in St Louis Cemetery, as well as Congo Square, which was used for African culture and customs (voodoo included) in the 19th century.
Meanwhile, the museum prides itself on its dedication to assisting everyone from academics to film-makers on the influence and history of voodoo.
Entrance fee to the museum is $10 for adults and $8 for concessions. It is open seven days a week. Meanwhile, the walking tours can be booked in advance, although 24 hour notice is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Whether you choose to visit the museum or take one of the walking tours, you’ll likely leave charmed by this humble homage to all things voodoo, as well as having been given the perfect introduction to a practice interwoven into the fabric of the city it serves.