Rue Dumaine turned out to be a fantastic street for interesting shops - including a few clothing stores where I spend WAY too much money. But that's really outside the scope of this blog, so we won't get into the amazing cardigan with day of the dead skulls on it that I bought.
We came upon Voodoo Authentica, and hoping that the name would prove to be truthful we ducked inside. This was my favorite Voodoo-centric place that we visited. The front door to the place is charming, with it's 3-and-a-half foot Voodoo dolls which serve as greeters. I wanted to take one home with me, or at least craft some when I got back - alas there isn't much Spanish moss in Canada.
Voodoo Authentica is both a retail store for Voodoo and conjure supplies, but also as an educational center for visitors. Unlike the unfortunate Voodoo Museum, this place was well-kept, and the cultural displays which were placed all around the store so that you came upon the museum-ish bits as you shopped, were accurate and informative, all while being beautiful to look at. The staff were pleasant and unobtrusive, and happy to answer any questions you might have. We got into a somewhat humorous discussion when my husband commented that there were so many mojo-bags, oils, and candles for fertility, what if you really wanted to avoid having children (as we do - I did my very best to not even inhale close to those things). After discussing the pros and cons of magically stopping up someone's womb - which mostly consisted of cons if you're looking for something to do on yourself or someone you even remotely like - the consensus was that the most powerful magic for avoiding fertility is a condom!
I enjoyed looking around the very spacious store, which was well lit, but not overly so. Next to each rack of goods, one could find an altar display and several pages of informative text about a different Lwa. They kept things linear by having the Erzulie display next to the love items, and on like that. The information at the displays included a bit of history of the Lwa, and then talked about the role the Lwa plays in the lives of the Voodooissants, and how that Lwa is typically served. The signs would then describe the various elements on the altar displays and explain why they were there, including the veves. It was very good overall and I was impressed. I hope that tourists also find this store when they are doing their Voodoo-site seeing, as it presents a much more accurate overview of the tradition.
For those that are sensitive to such things, you could definitely feel that there were spirits present, although they seemed sated and happy to stay quiet. It was a comforting presence. The woman behind the counter even said that there is a very powerful working fertility spirit tied to one of the masks, and she refuses to even dust it because she also does not want children. I though that was funny, and agreed that if I worked there I would also delegate the maintenance of that spirit to someone else!
I bought a Protection and Peace combo oil from here, and the feel and scent tells me that it was made from all natural ingredients. The smell was very pleasant - different from most other protection oils I've smelled, but then this one did include peace elements, too. I was glad I had it, as I was feeling kind of spiritually queasy after our visit to the Voodoo Museum, and with some grounding and the application of that oil to my temples and the back of my neck, I felt a lot better.
I would definitely recommend taking the time to visit Voodoo Authentica if you are in New Orleans!
612 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, LA 70116