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Voodoo in New Orleans

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  234 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
"Interesting investigation and straightforward handling of sensational times and tricksters, of the cult of voodooism in all its manifestations. From its first known appearances in New Orleans of 200 years ago, here are the fetishes and formulae, the rites and dances, the cures, charms and gris-gris. Here were the witch-doctors and queens, and in particular Doctor John, wh ...more
Paperback, 247 pages
Published March 1st 1984 by Pelican Publishing Company (first published 1946)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 27, 2012 Renie rated it it was ok
Written in the style of the day so don't get shocked at how everyone is listed by their ethnic makeup. Touted as truth but really a narrow viewpoint from an outsider. Quick interesting pimer read full of hearsay and scraps of evidence.
Regardless kudos to the author for taking the subject seriously, for even doing research in a world that is not his own. For trying to create a written history in a space were traditon mandates all information secret and imparted in only an oral fashion.
In the end
 (shan) Littlebookcove
Jun 10, 2015 (shan) Littlebookcove rated it it was amazing
It took me a while to get though this if I'm honest. But it was a really interesting read. I got this at hex Shop while in New Orleans This was the other book I picked up along with Queen of voodoo. while I was travelling around USA.
I found this book to be really interesting.. loads of little spells You can pick up in this book.if that's your thing. The author wrote this book in 1940's. Whether Some of this history is true or not, It was a interesting read. It's almost like he tracked
Mariana Palova
Jul 17, 2016 Mariana Palova rated it liked it
Shelves: shadowgazer
3.5. I'm aware that I can't take this book seriously. It's old like hell and full of racist connotations. And probably, exagerates many things. But It works for folk, and magic inspiration. I had fun reading it and is one of those small jewels that you must take from New Orleans souvenirs stores.
Jul 31, 2014 Gillik rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, nonfiction
A strange, charmingly racist little book (she says with sarcasm). It's very much a product of the time - all the (poor, black) characters sound the same, and the author handles the subject not from journalistic remove but from a 'look what these silly savage folks get up to!' mindset.

That being said, it's fascinating, even just as a primer into What White People Thought Voodoo Was Like. Lists of curses, depictions of ceremonies, details on voodoo queens and their various rivalries and scandals.
May 18, 2013 Geneva rated it liked it
An interesting read, but he's no Zora.
Dec 11, 2016 Lynelle rated it liked it
Full of nonsense, largely made up - but quite entertaining
Mar 15, 2017 StellaDow rated it really liked it
A product of its time, but the hearsay accounts are interesting, just to get an idea of how the practices pervaded everyday life
May 09, 2016 Sharon rated it really liked it
This is an interesting little book, originally published in 1946. Author Robert Tallant relied on first-person interviews, as well as files from the Louisiana Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration (during the Great Depression) in order to examine Voodoo as a religion.

The book suffers a little bit from the racial prejudices of the time (Tallant often refers to people of color as "simple" or "ignorant"), but it is otherwise an interesting first-hand look at a culture that is still i
Mason Jones
Sep 06, 2015 Mason Jones rated it liked it
This is probably more like a 2.5 star book, but three it is. Written in the 1940s, it is certainly of its time, though pretty enlightened all things considered. There's a lot of judgment based on both race and educational level, but being 70 years old it's not surprising. Despite that, there's some interesting history here, and a pretty level-headed analysis of stories and tales told. It's supposedly one of the better overviews, though it seems like too much of an outsider's view to be more than ...more
Jun 27, 2013 Glen rated it liked it
Interesting and seemingly authentic, based on numerous interviews with practitioners and those who know or knew them. Perhaps somewhat dated now given its publication date (1949), but still an informative primer on an aspect of folk life in one of America's weirdest (and therefore one of my favorite) cities. Some sections are disturbing, especially to those squeamish about violence done to animals or to some of the grotesque items used in "fixin" people, and other sections are humorous, still ot ...more
Jun 04, 2016 Jonathan rated it liked it
OK, yes, it's written by an "outsider" to the world of voodoo and terribly outdated, but it's a very interesting introduction to the New Orleans scene, with an especially interesting section on Marie Laveau and her daughter Marie Laveau II. The best parts are the interviews with the "current day" (the book was written in the 1940s) practitioners. Oh, and I got my copy from a prominent display at the New Orleans Voodoo Museum - which, trust me, is staffed by true believers. Worth a read.
Aug 28, 2013 Dana rated it it was ok
The highlight of the book was the final two paragraphs where America is compared to a turkey - because we have white meat and dark meat. Yes, of the racial variety. This analogy was loosely tied to a comparison of race in Voodoo.

Seriously, though, this book is curious and is ethnographic in nature. I'm not sure Robert Tallant "speaks with authority" as is suggested in the reviews, but he certainly lived an interesting life...or at least has a fantastic imagination.
Michael Kay
Aug 26, 2015 Michael Kay rated it really liked it
Entertaining trash. Pretends at points to be a serious historical account but is almost entirely made up of anecdotal evidence, and its fun to separate the serious from those trying to pull Tallant's leg.

You don't read this book for Tallant though, entertaining as his hypocrisy can be at points. You read it for the world he's attempting to explore and the characters within, as fabricated as their accounts often are.
Jason Murphy
Great historical text about the golden age of voodoo. It puts together various folk tales and aves them together under classifications. It was first written the the 1940s and I was pleasantly surprised at its non-dry tone. Most books I have read from this far back are very dull and read like outdated textbooks. This one doesn't!
Jul 28, 2007 Alexandra rated it it was ok
This book is an interesting introduction to New Orleans voodoo, or hoodoo, but was too senstationalistic to be taken seriously. I'm interested in voodoo in America and will be reading Zora Neal Hurston for more background.
Elizabeth Lilly
Jun 25, 2012 Elizabeth Lilly rated it it was ok
I was expecting something a little more scholarly and full of primary sources than how this book turned out to be. Perhaps it's because of the year of its original publishing. It was an interesting read, but seems like more of a starter on New Orleans voodoo history.
Jan 01, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
It's not a history book. If you're looking for a history book, you ain't gonna dig it.

But it is a book full of rumors of the time period. Salacious, engaging, and fun. If you're looking for that, you will like this.
Mar 03, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
A product of the era. Once you get past the archaic race fixations, it isn't a bad book. The stories behind the various voodoo queens and witch-doctors are compelling and descriptive. A must for fans of Marie Laveau I and II.
Dec 14, 2011 Madamemortician marked it as to-read
My mom gave me this book a few years ago, before my first NOLA trip. I have had it that long and never read it. It's in my bag to take when I get stuck in Dr's offices, so it's gonna be a slow read.
Zombaby Cera
Jan 13, 2009 Zombaby Cera rated it really liked it
This is the book most tour guides in New Orleans get their knowledge from. A hidden part of true American history!
Diana Jacobsen
Mar 23, 2012 Diana Jacobsen rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome read. A history of voodoo in new Orleans. I will checking out more of Robert tallant books
Jul 06, 2013 Eyre rated it it was ok
A travel non-fiction book. Interesting to read what NOLA might have seemed like to a tourist in the 40s, but the accounts of Voodoo are sensational & superficial.

Sarah Goodner
Nov 29, 2014 Sarah Goodner rated it liked it
Shelves: nola-voodoo, i-own
Lots of fun information about the history of voodoo in NOLA, somewhat dated. A good place to start, it gave me some plot ideas.
Jan 02, 2017 Anna rated it liked it
Informativ men en aning tillkrånglad fackbok om voodoo i Louisiana före 1950.
Jan 09, 2011 Jolie is currently reading it
Fairly compelling read for a historical books, though definitely outdated socially.
Charlane Brady
Apr 14, 2009 Charlane Brady rated it liked it
Intriguing. I found the book easy-to-read. I wanted to learn more about VooDoo in New Orleans before reading about Marie Laveau....
Cris Bleaux
Cris Bleaux rated it really liked it
Mar 02, 2016
E Jeanne Harnois
E Jeanne Harnois rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2012
Kath rated it it was ok
Sep 02, 2012
Sian Leggatt
Sian Leggatt rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2016
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Robert Tallant was one of Louisiana’s best-known authors. Born in New Orleans in 1909, he attended the city’s local public schools. Before “drifting” into writing, Tallant worked as an advertising copywriter, a bank teller, and a clerk. It was his friendship with Lyle Saxon that led Tallant to his position as editor on the Louisiana WPA Writers Project during the 1930s and 1940s. In that position, ...more
More about Robert Tallant...

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