Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints: A Guide to Magical New Orleans

Denise Alvarado. Weiser, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-57863-674-7
Alvarado (The Magic of Marie Laveau), a researcher and practitioner of the Louisiana folk magic tradition, delivers an inspiring survey of 20 witches, healers, and saints drawn from the Big Easy’s history and legends. Profiles include, of course, Queen Marie Laveau, a free woman of color in the early 19th century revered for her healing, and Voudou spirit Papa Legba, the “cunning celestial trickster” known as the “Black Man at the Crossroads.” Alvarado also introduces Annie Christmas, a pre–Civil War superheroine who could outwork and outdrink anyone on the Mississippi riverfront and became a Voudou saint petitioned for empowering women and destroying bullies. Alvarado explores how newly converted African slaves associated their Voudou spirits with Catholic saints, as was the case with St. Expedite, who is based on a “fringe saint” fourth-century Armenian Catholic martyr and has evolved to be revered as the “patron saint to computer programmers and hackers.” Mixing historical sources and folklore details, these well-researched sketches reflect Alvarado’s reverence and admiration. It’s a rollicking party of spirits that should appeal to tourists, contemporary spell casters, and armchair historians. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/12/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Religion
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