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New Orleans Voodoo

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Voodoo at the Bayou

St John's Eve Ceremony, Bayou St John, New Orleans

Voodoo was introduced to New Orleans by the enslaved West Africans, who merged their religious rituals of nature, spirits, and ancestors practices with those of the local Catholic population. Also known as Voodoo-Catholicism, St. John's Eve is celebrated on the day of the summer solstice in New Orleans each year. Begun in the 1830s by Marie Laveau on Bayou St. John, The celebration is a head-washing ritual combined with a public celebration.


Statue of Maria Laveau at the St. John;s Eve Ceremony, Bayou St John, New Orleans

High Priestess, Sally Ann Glassman makes a Veve. Bayou St John, New Orleans

A Veve is a Louisianne Voodoo symbol which acts as a portal for the Iwa or spirit to enter the ceremony during the rituals. Each Iwa has its own unigue Veve and serves as a its representative during the rituals.



The competed Veve whose symbols of circles and lines are unique to each Iwa or spirit
Veve designs vary according to local customs, as do the names of the loa.

"The ceremonies commonly include drumming, chanting, dancing and the drawing of symbols known as veves (vevers). Just as specific colors, objects, chants and drum beats appeal to specific loa, so to do the veves. The veve used in a ceremony is dependent upon the lwa whose presence is desired. Veves are drawn on the ground with cornmeal, sand, or other powdery substances, and they are obliterated during the ritual." Beyer, Catherine. "Vodoun Symbols for Their Gods." Learn Religions, Sep. 20, 2021, learnreligions.com/vodou-veves-4123236



Shrine to Maria Laveau at the Hotel International annual celebration of St John's Eve
Shrine to Maria Laveau at the Hotel International annual celebration of St John's Eve


Shrine to Maria Laveau at the Hotel International annual celebration of St John's Eve
Shrine to Maria Laveau at the Hotel International annual celebration of St John's Eve


The most famous voodoo queen was Marie Laveau (1794-1881), a legendary healer who is buried in St. Louis Cemetery No.1. As a devout Catholic, Laveau merged her faith with the African rituals to create the modern form practiced today.

 Marie Laveau (1794-1881) St. Louis Cemetery No.1
Marie Laveau (1794-1881) St. Louis Cemetery No.1 New Orleans, Louisiana













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