Monday, July 1, 2013

Altars in New Orleans

One of the most beautiful things about New Orleans is the juxtaposition of cultures, architecture, and religion. These then melded, as we all know, creating some of the richest tapestries of people and beliefs in the world. In order for the slaves to practice their African beliefs without punishment, the Catholic saints were melded with their own African deities. This created a brand new beleif system, new practices, and also added new facets and depth to the both Catholicism and the African traditions and religion. Vodou ceremonies were often held on week nights and then these same folks were also good Catholics, attending mass every Sunday. 

I wanted to attend both a formal Catholic cathedral and then Vodou's devoted to specific Loa or Saint to show the incredible asthetic difference between the ways of honoring and worship. Just the look and feel of the altars and tools are so completely opposite that one showcases the other. You may never notice the fine, crisp detials of the Catholic statues without the hand-hewn craftsmenship of the wooden jujus. For without darkness, there is no light and without both, there is no religion, spirit, or ashe'. Each enhancing the beauty of the other with the commonlaties and juxtaposition these beleifs and practices have evolved within and alongside one another.

A statue devoted to the American Indians of the land.

A stained glass window of Saint Anthony.

A statue of Saint Martin de Porres.

Mother Mary

A juju to protect the owner and building from evil spirits.

A three headed juju.

A statue of Exu.

Two human skulls left in offering to Baron Samedi.

A human skelton used as a vessel for Baron Samedi.

A painting of Marie Laveau and her snake in ritual.

An altar devoted to Aida Weddo.

A bible open to the Psalms.

An altar devoted to several aspects of Mother Mary.

An umbrella created and embellished for Marie Laveau. It bears her name in the gold "writing" and beading.

A collection of Vodou dolls.

I have a couple of more posts to come about my stay in New Orleans so stay tuned...


  1. brilliant.
    always nice to see St Martin De Porres getting some recognition. I often ask his help for my own ratties. and Karni Mata, of course.

  2. The Statue of the Native American woman is actually St. Kateri Tekakwitha. She is the first native saint and was "Blessed" status for many years before being officially canonized in 2015. She's little known by many, but sometimes you see her in some churches and shrines.