New Orleans, as a city, has a long and illustrious reputation as a place of mystery, the unusual, and the odd. In such a city of wide and eclectic tastes the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum fits right in.
Founded in 1972 by Charles Massicot Gandolfo, a local artist with a passion for all things Voodoo, the small museum has been inducting its visitors into the mystical and occult for almost forty years.
There are several different branches of Voodoo. The museum concentrates on what is known commonly as Louisiana Voodoo or New Orleans Voodoo.
New Orleans Voodoo is a conglomerate of African and European influences that have been stirred together within the cultural melting pot of New Orleans. Originally brought to the city in the early 1700s through the African slave trade, Louisiana Voodoo can trace its roots back through three separate periods: African, Creole, and American. Among the more interesting and unusual services that the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum offers are psychic readings. Prognosticating, or fortune telling, is an art that is deeply ingrained within the fabric of Voodoo culture, and the museum's on-hand voodoo priest John T is responsible for these readings, which can be done in person or via the telephone, and start at $40. However be warned, as the museum’s website explains, “Neither the Voodoo Museum, nor any reader, or practitioner, can guarantee any cause, effect or validation.”
The museum’s gift shop sells a wide range of interesting products, and among the various chicken feet and snake skins for sale there are two famous Voodoo items in particular: the Voodoo Love potion and the New Orleans Voodoo Coffin Kits. There is, of course, also a wide variety of items tailored for the less adventurous, including books and candles.
Along with the plethora of interesting objects and artifacts that populate the museum’s walls, walking tours of the famous St. Louis Cemetery are also offered. Visitors can gaze upon the tomb of one of the most famous practitioners of New Orleans Voodoo, Marie Laveau.
As a Voodoo priestess her magical powers were legendary throughout the city of New Orleans. However, there may be another explanation of her fame: she was also rumored to run one of the most popular brothels in New Orleans.