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Hoodoo How We Do : Saint Joan, Maiden of New Orleans

Hoodoo How We Do : Saint Joan, Maiden of New Orleans May 28, 2021

Joan of Arc statue, New Orleans. Photo by Patrick. Licensed under CC 2.0

Saint Joan is one of the most popular saints in the canon. She is honored on May 30th and her story is the stuff of legend. In Hoodoo practice Saint Joan is called on for assistance with courage, spiritual power, and defeating one’s enemies. From an early age this saint was said to be blessed with divine inspiration from St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret. She was born into poverty, but with faith and conviction she convinced crown prince Charles of Valois to let her lead the French army and in the 1429 Siege of Orléans, while riding a white horse and wearing white amour she was victorious. Despite all her successes, people sought to take her down. After being accused of Witchcraft, dressing like a man, and several other offenses she was burned at the stake on the morning of May 30th 1431.

Here in the Crescent City Joan of Arc is honored with a statue located in the French market. It was a gift from France. Just like the saint herself, the story of the statue is one that faced many challenges. The website New Orleans Historical tells us it was  “Originally cast by French sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet in the late 1800s, the statue of Joan that can be found in the French Quarter entered the world as one of nine similar statues. With no destination in mind, Joan patiently waited in a French warehouse until her day of liberation. Adventure finally found her in 1958 when a New York Company purchased the warehouse where Joan sat, longing for a change of scenery. While her warehouse mates traveled to places like Melbourne, Quebec, and Philadelphia, Joan traveled to one of the liveliest cities in the world, New Orleans…. Joan languished in storage once again, this time in a New Orleans warehouse for approximately fourteen years while the city struggled to pay her $36,500 price tag. Even though French President Charles de Gaulle paid her ransom in 1964, she remained in the dreary warehouse until 1972. Joan emerged under the Southern sun at the Rivergate Convention Center.

Dwarfed by the two giant buildings that surrounded her, Joan never gave up and stood proudly in her New Orleans Business District home. Temporarily disappearing in 1984, Joan reappeared in time for the World’s Fair. Finally, in the fresh air, Joan enjoyed her freedom until her recapture by a lengthy legal battle in the 1990s when the Harrah’s Company sought to knock her off her pedestal in the Business District. Supported by her new troops – government officials, historians, and the community – Joan charged into battle once more. In October 1999, a triumphant Joan advanced to her current location in the Place de France in the French Market. Rearing back on her stead, Joan represents the strength, power, and perseverance of New Orleans, a city that no foe may defeat. ”

You may honor Saint Joan with your own statue, or with a combination of holy water and botanicals like rosemary (which is given out in New Orleans by the Krewe de Jean d’Arc every year on Jan 6th. )

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About Lilith Dorsey
Lilith Dorsey M.A., hails from many magickal traditions, including Afro-Caribbean, Celtic, and Indigenous American spirituality. Their traditional education focused on Plant Science, Anthropology, and Film at the University of R.I, New York University, and the University of London, and their magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo. Lilith Dorsey is also a Voodoo Priestess and in that capacity has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons, is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly, filmmaker of the experimental documentary Bodies of Water :Voodoo Identity and Tranceformation,’ and choreographer/performer for jazz legend Dr. John’s “Night Tripper” Voodoo Show. They have long been committed to providing accurate and respectful information about the African Traditional Religions and are proud to be a published Black author of such titles as 55 Ways to Connect to Goddess, The African-American Ritual Cookbook, Love Magic, Orishas, Goddesses and Voodoo Queens, Water Magic and the newly re-released Voodoo and African Traditional Religion. You can read more about the author here.
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