Showing posts with label Alyne Pustanio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alyne Pustanio. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wicked Witch Extraordinaire Dorothy Morrison Delivers Evidence of a Pink Marie Laveaux Tomb



You can just imagine the reaction devotees of our beloved Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveaux, experienced when they read these words by Dorothy Morrison posted on her Facebook wall several days ago: "As grand a time as we're having in New Orleans, we did make a rather disturbing discovery this morning: Someone painted Marie Laveau's tomb...I can hardly bring myself to say this...pastel PINK!!! WTF??? Someone local: Please find out who did this, and make them change it back! It's disgusting, and I don't think Madame is very happy about it."


A flurry of responses and reactions ensued and I rather suspect will continue for some time regarding this event.


Alyne Pustanio, author of Purloined Sories and Early Tales of Old New Orleans has this to say about the event: "Whoever painted the tomb probably was doing so at the behest of its owners and that's the color they wanted it to be. That tomb is painted more frequently than possibly any other tomb in the New Orleans area specifically because it is continuously defaced with X's and other markings; tourists, encouraged by "who me?!" tour guides, are the worst offenders. I can understand that pink is not the immediate color that would come to mind for those of you who are used to seeing the tomb whitewashed, but even a Pepto-Bismol pink will weather and fade after the rains of winter and the spring heat are done with it, and it may be this worn patina that the painter is after. I personally know of acts of random vandalism to which the old cemeteries have been subjected in the past, and in my opinion vandals are not going to stick around to paint that big tomb especially when it is easier to desecrate the other old, crumbling graves and paint graffiti on the cemetery walls. So don't worry, the color will fade."

But not everyone is so nonchalant about it or used to seeing this kind of thing. The passion with which devotees feel entitled to inscribe Xs on her tomb is fierce. According to one person, who seems to be misdirecting their anger at Pustanio (who knows more about New Orleans lore and Voodoo history than anyone I know), putting small Xs on her tomb is not defacement. "The tomb belongs to the Girondo family (I think thats the spelling) and if they did request it to be painted, don't you think they would have done it in a more professional manner and not with LATEX and painting the marble..??? are you kidding me? Oh you neglected to read where the remaining paint was dumped into a drain." While I know Pustanio well, and I know she is very aware of the whys and wherefores of the practice, I can understand the anger that this individual feels. My initial reaction was quite similar.

But, we all need to just calm down a minute and not get angry at each other for something none of us did.

On the other side of the coin, there are some...well, at least one...devotee who is pleased with the color choice. Upon learning the news, Oskar "Doc Mojo" Yetzirah exclaimed:  "PINK!? OOOO SHEEET! Madam Laveau just got a Barrio Style touch up!" Apparently, painting graves bright colors is a tradition found in Mexican Catholic cemeteries. According to Yetzirah, "'El Color es un recuerdo de La Vida' is the saying I had heard several times growing up. It means, Color is a reminder of Life."

Reaching out for comments from New Orleans natives during the Christmas season leaves many questions unanswered. However, I was able to get a comment from the Divine Prince Ty Emmeca who, while he does not know who did it, stated in reference to the color: "I assume (it was) someone fighting a Breast Cancer Cause." 

But for those who have not been there to see it in person, the energy is not palpable. Morrison states:
"I understand why some of you don't think this is a big deal. But if you could feel the atmosphere there now, you'd know why this is gnawing at me so."

That said, the tomb, while the leftover paint was reportedly tossed in a drain, does seem to be painted with more care than if it were simply an act of random vandalism. The edges are neat, and there is a carefully painted little heart next to the plaque on the ground (see photo below).

Photo courtesy of Dorothy Morrison, copyright 2013, All rights reserved.

This little telltale sign tells me that it is someone local who understands the healing grace with which Mam'zelle bestows on the sick. The color pink is associated with cancer - breast cancer specifically - and so, the Divine Prince's assumption rings true.

Whether it is vandalism or devotion is not the issue here, however. Rather, according to Morrison, it is the fact that it was apparently done without Mam'zelle's consent. At least, that's what Morrison expressed after being there in person and informing Mam'zelle that her tomb had been painted pink. Traditionally in New Orleans Voudou, Marie Laveaux is associated with the color blue, perhaps because of her association with water. Morrison states: "I don't think it's the fact that it's colored paint. Instead, it's the actual color. If it had been painted a lovely rich jewel-tone - emerald green, sapphire blue, deep amethyst, or even garnet - I think she'd be okay with that."

The latest rumor from local informants describes a small, light-skinned black man seen walking around town with pink paint on his pants. Which immediately makes him a suspect...to those who don't care to investigate further.

Many thanks to Dorothy Morrison for bringing this issue to our attention. Sadly, the event hasn't made the news anywhere that I have found, aside from my blogs and article at the New Orleans Voodoo Examiner.

For anyone who wishes to visit the grave site, pay your respects and take photos, the tomb is located in St. Louis Cemetery #1. The tomb is marked “Famille Vve. Paris, née Laveau” and to find it, enter the cemetery at the front gate. Turn left and count between the 5th and 6th tombs on your right and cut in between the gap between the two. Look up at about 11:00 o’clock and there it is!


*Check out Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans for a lengthy article on the Wishing Tomb and how to serve Marie Laveaux as a devotee.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Get the Real Story about Mary Oneida Toups in the Special Edition Issue of Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans!


The first issue of the acclaimed magazine journal under the new name of simply Hoodoo and Conjure, formerly Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly, is here!

In all its gloriousness and fabulous writ, Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans brings to you a fantastic collection of articles from a variety of notable as well as up and coming authors. The majority of the articles center on New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo, however, we also include some fantastic articles about southern conjure traditions in general. Here we go...are you ready?

Get the original story about Mary Oneida Toups by the original author, 6th generation New Orleans born Alyne Pustanio! News flash, American Horror Story: Coven is not the first to tell her story! Our very own Alyne Pustanio is!

Here are some of the articles jam packed in this issue of Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans:

FEATURE STORIES

  • New Orleans-Style Day of the Dead with Sallie Ann Glassman by Alyne Pustanio
  • In Memorium: Coco Robicheaux by Alyne Pustanio
  • Digging in the Dirt by Dorothy Morrison
  • The Wishing Tomb of Marie Laveaux by Denise Alvarado
  • The Story about Mary Oneida Toups by Alyne Pustanio
  • Tituba, the Voodoo Girl of Salem by Witchdoctor Utu
  • Food as Medzin by Madrina Angelique
  • The Graveyard Snake and the Ancestors by Dr. Snake
  • Holy Death and the Seven Insights: A Gay Man’s Story of Self-Transformation and his Search for Love by Carolina Dean
  • Adventures in Ghost Hunting by Carolina Dean
  • It Might be a Sign of Things to Come by H. Byron Ballard
  • Wicca and Voodoo: Bringing the Two Together by Nish Perez
  • Wicca and Voodoo: Rhythms by Louis Martinie
  • Crimson Light through Muddy Water: Southern Goth as an Occult Reality by Tim Broussard

And more!!!


APPLIED CONJURE

  • Spell Work with the Dead by Madrina Angelique
  • How to Bury an Enemy by Madrina Angelique
  • Uncrossing Land by Aaron Leitch

And more!


PHOTO ESSAY

  • Herein lies the Poor and the Indigent: A Photo Essay of Holt Cemetery by Denise Alvarado and Alyne Pustanio 


INTERNATIONAL CONJURE

  • Mystery Of a Sacred Sastun and The Trinity of Stones: An Interview with Winsom Winsom by Rev.Roots

TUTORIAL

  • Tutorial: How to Make a New Orleans Style Rope Doll by Denise Alvarado 



BOOK REVIEW

  • Talking to God with Food: Questioning Animal Sacrifice by Louis Martinie, Review by Denise Alvarado


This magazine journal is an 8 X 10 special edition, full color bleed, 125 pages, of the highest quality and bound like a book. A true collector's item and must have for any student of conjure and lover of New Orleans and Southern folk magic traditions. 

To purchase, please visit Creole Moon.


Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans. It's for real, y'all.






Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 1st Annual Bayou City Conjure Community Awards: Statement of Gratitude from Denise Alvarado



Greetings folks!

I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who voted for me and several of my projects and mutual endeavors with others that resulted in winning awards for the 1st Annual Conjure Community Awards 2012 hosted by Bayou City Conjure Radio. I am so honored for the recognition as Best Visual Artist as this award not only recognizes me, but also my ancestors; specifically, my Mother and Father who both inspired and nurtured by talents from the moment I could hold a pen, paint brush and sewing needle. 

A big surprise was winning the award for Best Blog – this blog, The Art of Conjure. I am not an everyday blogger; I blog when I have time and feel I have something to give and say. This blog simply consists of my thoughts and musings as a conjure woman who likes to share personal experiences in the hopes that it inspires and informs others.

The additional awards of which I am a part include Best Home Business - Crossroads Mojo with Madrina Angelique. The success of our young business is the result of what can happen with true teamwork, a mutual vision, and support and encouragement from countless others who believe in us, our products and our devotional art. Working with Madrina Angelique has been one of the most positive and professional experiences I have had the privilege of participating in. Above all, the Best Home Business Award for Crossroads Mojo is dedicated to Papa Legba, without whom the website would never have come to be.



Finally to win Best Facebook Group - Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine is quite the irony considering our beginnings. Even with the group out of the public eye, the satisfaction I feel for winning this award is immense, to say the least. But this award would not be possible without the blood, sweat, and tears of the writers, contributors, partnerships and all my brilliant fellow conjurers and group members who routinely give to each other and treat each other with respect. You are integral in creating and maintaining the group as a true, supportive, nonjudgmental community. Thank you to Carolina Dean, Madrina Angelique, Alyne Pustanio, Winsom Winsom and all group members who so graciously contribute their time and energy to both the magazine and to keeping the group running in my absence. Even with a few bumps in the road, you never give up. I am honored and humbled by the recognition and acknowledgment of the magazine’s group and our purpose, and most of all for having such loyal friends in my life. This award belongs to all of us.

I extend my congratulations to all of the other winners. Special congratulations go to a couple of Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine contributors whose light shone bright in their own right. Dorothy Morrison as Best Authoryou are an inspiration, a witch of integrity and a true friend. Thank you for your life’s work, much of which I was reading long before writing myself. Dragon Ritual Drummers as Best Music Group – thank you for the awesome drums and rhythms, providing us an expression of and connection to the heartbeat of the Spirits. Witchdoctor Utu in particular, I thank you for your support and friendship. Priestess Miriam as Best Community Figure - you and the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple represent what New Orleans Voodoo should be all about. Well done, my friends!

Finally, many thanks to Bayou City Conjure Radio for giving all of us an opportunity to acknowledge individuals and groups who contribute in a positive way to the conjure community. May 2013 be the best year ever!

Peace and love,

Denise Alvarado