Stop with the X, Get with the Checks: Save Marie Laveau’s Tomb!

Stop With the X, Get with the Checks: Save Marie Laveau's Tomb photo by Lilith Dorsey

Back in December of 2013, the tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery Number One was painted “Pepto dismal” pink in an act of vandalism. A strong power wash was used to remove the paint, resulting in some serious damage to the tomb. This sacred Voodoo site is the second most visited grave in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to leave offerings and to salute this Voodoo legend. Much more helpful than leaving X marks on the tomb, donations a … [Read more...]

A Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau Musicology

Marie Laveau Painting in the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, New Orleans. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

People have been singing about Marie Laveau probably since the time she was born. This famous Voodoo Priestess is the stuff of legend. People sing her praises, people sing to warn others of her power, people sing to remember. If you would like to know more about her legend and lore please read the Real Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.The most popular Marie Laveau song is probably the one written by Shel Silverstein. Mitch Myers is Silverstein's nephew and he gives us this information about the … [Read more...]

Battles and Big Chiefs: More History of the Mardi Gras Indians

Skeleton Rifle Indian photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans. Licensed under CC 2.0

As I started writing about in my last post, the Mardi Gras Indians are one of the most fascinating and intense facets of Carnival in New Orleans. There are a lot of reasons the tradition continues and people still "mask as Indian." Back in the day the tribes or gangs as they were called back then, would do actual battle in the street. Rival gangs fought it out with fists, knives, hatchets or worse, and there was much fear surrounding these altercations. The Violence came to an end however, with … [Read more...]

Why the Mardi Gras Indians Won’t Bow Down

Mardi Gras Indian Katrina Suit photo by Lilith Dorsey 2010.

Strong, Powerful, Proud: all of these words have been correctly used to describe the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. The tradition is older than the city itself. Some say its origins date back to the 1700's, but like much of the city's history, everyone loves to debate it. The names are as exotic as the costumes: Guardians of the Flame, the Black Seminoles, Creole Hunters, Wild Tchoupitoulas, Golden Eagles, Wild Magnolia, and the Flaming Arrows to name a few. There are over 50 tribes in the … [Read more...]

Bless Your Soul with Florida Water

Murray & Lanman's Florida Water photo by Boston Public Library. Licensed under CC 2.0

“Voodoo smells great,” this is one of the first things my godchildren say to newcomers to our rituals. They are right. One of the most divine things about Voodoo and Santeria is that these religions find a way to deliciously bless and protect participants with some delightful magickal scents. One of the main blessing ingredients used is Florida Water. This isn't actually a water at all. It's Florida Water Cologne, it has an alcohol base and a history as long as my arm.  Murray and Lan … [Read more...]

How You Can Help Support the Restoration of Marie Laveau’s Tomb!

Support the Restoration of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's Tomb photo by Lilith Dorsey.

Marie Laveau is the Ultimate Voodoo Queen. There is no contest. She is more famous than all the others combined, and this was even before her recent appearance in the popular media.As many of you know back in December, the world famous tomb of  Marie Laveau was painted pink by a vandal according to sources quoted by author Denise Alvarado in her piece "The Mystery of The Pink Tomb is Solved." For more information on Marie Laveau worship and the original incident  you can also check out the V … [Read more...]

Farewell to Stuart Hall “Godfather of Multiculturalism”

legflection photo by Seniju. Text added. Licensed under CC 2.0

If I'm honest, and I am, I wouldn't be writing this blog if it weren't for Stuart Hall. Now I was writing on Afro-Diasporan culture long before I even knew who Hall was, but when I discovered his work and his writings over two decades ago, it was like a rainbow of realization went off in my brain. Here was an educated Black man who had been speaking out for decades against racism, colonialism, and oppression...and he even wrote about television sometimes. "They Didn't Have Tails"Hall's … [Read more...]


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