The meeting point for your enthralling Cemetery and Voodoo Walking Tour – New Orleans is at Royal Blend Coffee and Tea House, 621 Royal Street, in French quarter. There is no hotel pick-up, so please make your own way to the meeting point and try to arrive there 15 minutes before departure time.
The tour starts with a 15 minute stroll around the French Quarter (also known as Vieux Carré), the oldest and creepiest part of town.
New Orleans' past and present cultures are most intriguingly merged in her cemeteries, where you'll relive the stories of her people – their history, tragedy, and irony – amidst extraordinary architecture, unusual burial methods still in use, and decayed ruins thinly concealing human remains.
Your guide will take you through St. Louis Cemetery– New Orleans’ oldest surviving cemetery, founded a year after a flood, an epidemic and a fire destroyed a large part of the city. The jumbled maze-like paths will remind you that death does not always wait for a planned and orderly cemetery. Creoles, Americans, slaves, immigrants, Catholic, Protestant, all are buried here.
And burying people isn’t easy in New Orleans because the water table is high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float. Early settlers in the area struggled with different methods to bury the dead and finally settled on a method of burial above ground in vaults.
You will spend about 1 hour and 30 minutes in this ‘City of the Dead’. Among notable graves you will see is that reputed to belong to Marie Laveau, ‘The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans’, who died in the 1880s. The tomb continues to attract visitors who draw three Xs (XXX) on its side, in the hope that Laveau's spirit will grant them a wish.
Marie Laveau has been the inspiration for many books and stories. There is some controversy over the tomb in St Louis cemetery, with some people claiming that it is not her resting place after all.
Leaving the Cemetery, you will move on to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple. This was founded in 1990 by Priest Oswan Chamani and his wife Miriam with an emphasis on traditional West African spiritual practices. After Priest Chamani's death in 1995, Priestess Miriam assumed leadership. Today, the Temple combines multiple traditions, including the Belizean Voodoo practiced by Oswan Chamani and the Black Christian Spiritualist movement into which Miriam was ordained before her marriage.
One of the aims of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple is to dispel misinformation about Voodoo, so respectful visitors are welcomed.
You will spend about 45 minutes at the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, (828 N. Rampart St.). The tour ends here and you will need to make your own arrangements to return to your accommodation.