Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn

Karen McCarthy Brown, Author University of California Press $48 (432p) ISBN 978-0-520-07073-8
Mama Lola, better known as Alourdes, earns a living by conducting Haitian vodou healing work in her Brooklyn home. In 1978, Brown, professor of sociology and the anthropology of religion at Drew University in New Jersey, met Alourdes while doing an ethnographic survey of the local Haitian immigrant community. Intrigued by the priestess and by the misunderstood, oft-maligned practices of vodou and the religion's loyal but secretive followers, Brown gradually won Alourdes's friendship and enthusiastically participated in ceremonies such as ``birthday parties'' for important spirits ( lwa ). The lwa , which are said to possess celebrants during rituals and to relay messages through dreams, are as likely to punish as to reward believers. In this commendable, illuminating study, replete with magical tales of past and present in Haiti and America, Alourdes reveals enduring faith and respect for her religion despite hardship. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-520-07780-5
Paperback - 429 pages - 978-0-520-26810-4
Paperback - 429 pages - 978-0-520-22475-9
Ebook - 447 pages - 978-0-520-92539-7
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