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Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints
A Guide to Magical New Orleans
Denise Alvarado
ISBN: 9781578636747
Book (Paperback)
Red Wheel Weiser, Weiser Books
6 x 9 Inches
240 pages
20 b&w photographs and illustrations
February 1, 2022


"Alvarado stirs each story with warmth, compassion, and salvation while never once scorching the roux. This book is a must have for any serious lover, devotee, or student of New Orleans from an African-centered perspective.” —Mawiyah Kai EL-Jamah Bomani, award winning playwright, author of Spring Chickens 

“New Orleans is legendary, complex, and delicious and I suspect few people know it better than Denise Alvarado. Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits and Hoodoo Saints is her love story to the practices in this great American city and to the diaspora that carried it with them wherever they settled. This is as good as the best gumbo.” —H. Byron Ballard, author of Seasons of a Magical Life

“Denise Alvarado’s Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints is the book I wish I could have read as my introduction to the folklore of New Orleans.  As my surname suggests, my family has a long history in New Orleans and I have visited many times over more than fifty years, since I was a small child.  Despite a thorough grounding in the spiritual history of New Orleans, I learned a lot from this book. A superb account of the important spiritual figures, unusual saints, and renowned practitioners of New Orleans -- a multicultural crossroads with a fascinating religious history --- Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints gives readers a well-rounded picture of the cross-cultural spiritual “gumbo” of New Orleans, America’s most interesting city.” —Caroline Kenner, founder of The Fool’s Dog Tarot app

Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints: A Guide to Magical New Orleans is filled with fascinating and lesser-known historical facts alongside insightful, detailed, and intimate introductions to the spectral or unseen— but felt! — New Orleans, hidden just beneath the city’s surface. Denise Alvarado brings to life the powerful divine loa from Africa, as well as ancestral spirits, such as Mamzelle Marie Laveau, who are the wisdom, truth, and power of its Voodoo, Hoodoo, and witchcraft practices and lore, the delicious cultural synergy or gumbo that is magical New Orleans.” —Orion Foxwood, author of Mountain Conjure and Southern Rootwork

A magical mystery tour of the extraordinary historical characters that have defined the unique spiritual landscape of New Orleans.

New Orleans has long been America’s most magical city, inhabited by a fascinating visible and invisible world, full of mysteries, known for its decadence and haunted by its spirits. If Salem, Massachusetts, is famous for its persecution of witches, New Orleans is celebrated for its embrace of the magical, mystical, and paranormal. New Orleans is acclaimed for its witches, ghosts, and vampires. Because of its unique history, New Orleans is the historical stronghold of traditional African religions and spirituality in the US. No other city worldwide is as associated with Vodou as New Orleans.

In her new book, author and scholar Denise Alvarado takes us on a magical tour of New Orleans. There is a mysterious spiritual underbelly hiding in plain sight in New Orleans, and in this book Alvarado shows us where it is and who the characters are. She tells where they come from and how they persist and manifest today. Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints shines a light on notable spirits and folk saints such as Papa Legba, Annie Christmas, Black Hawk, African-American culture hero Jean St. Malo, St. Expedite, plague saint Roch, and, of course, the mother and father of New Orleans Voudou, Marie Laveau and Doctor John Montenée. Witch Queens, Voodoo Spirits, and Hoodoo Saints serves as a secret history of New Orleans, revealing details even locals may not know.

Denise Alvarado was born and raised in the Voodoo and hoodoo-rich culture of New Orleans. She has studied mysticism and practiced Creole Voodoo and indigenous healing traditions for over three decades. She is an independent researcher, artist, spiritual adviser, and cultural consultant. She is the author of the The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook: A Compendium of Ancient and Contemporary Spells and Rituals and is the and Editor in Chief of Hoodoo and Conjure, the first magazine journal devoted to the spiritual, cultural and folk magic traditions of the American South. She currently lives in Arizona. You can visit her online at: and Brandon Davidson)
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