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Buy for $19.95
The racialized and exoticized cult of Voodoo occupies a central place in the popular image of the Crescent City. But as Kodi A. Roberts argues in Voodoo and Power, the religion was not a monolithic tradition handed down from African ancestors to their American-born descendants. Instead, a much more complicated patchwork of influences created New Orleans Voodoo, allowing it to move across boundaries of race, class, and gender. By employing late 19th and early 20th-century first-hand accounts of Voodoo practitioners and their rituals, Roberts provides a nuanced understanding of who practiced Voodoo and why.
Voodoo in New Orleans, a mélange of religion, entrepreneurship, and business networks, stretched across the color line in intriguing ways.
Voodoo rituals and institutions also drew inspiration from the surrounding milieu, including the privations of the Great Depression, the city s complex racial history, and the free-market economy. Money, employment, and business became central concerns for the religion s practitioners: to validate their work, some began operating from recently organized Spiritual Churches, entities that were tax exempt and thus legitimate in the eyes of the state of Louisiana. Practitioners even leveraged local figures like the mythohistoric Marie Laveau for spiritual purposes and entrepreneurial gain. All the while, they contributed to the cultural legacy that fueled New Orleans s tourist industry and drew visitors and their money to the Crescent City.
The book is published by Louisiana State University Press.
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Didn't match up to my expectations
While the overall message of the book was quite interesting, I feel like the same point was made repeatedly throughout the book. Being a native New Orleanian myself, I am well-aware that there was an economic gain to be had by practicing Voodoo, but there is so much more that could have been addressed. I wanted more history. I wanted more articles describing eye-witness accounts. Being it is about politics as well as religion, I wanted more court cases or police reports. I also wanted a more intimate look at Marie Laveau.
Also, the narration was a disappointment. Although I can hear an authentic New Orleans dialect when he would read most passages, every time he quoted someone there would be this awkward pause in between words. He also seemed to change his dialect when quoting to perhaps "dumb it down" a bit. Although the grammar is believable when he did this, the pronunciations were very off. And the pauses eventually became like nails on a chalkboard.
Overall, although the information and story had a good foundation, I ultimately found it lacking.
7 people found this helpful
- Amazon Customer
History of New Orleans more than voodoo
The book uses voodoo as a way to follow New Orleans racial and cultural history, but I was hoping for a deep dive into the history of voodoo, tracing the origins of individual rites and how and where they were concocted, how ingredients were chosen, etc. Also, the narrator mispronounced many words and paused oddly mid-sentence often, as though he was not aware that the sentence continued, which got annoying.
2 people found this helpful