Voodoo, New Orleans
there's a popular 'voodoo tradition' that if you pick up a discarded peice of brick from an old crypt, mark 3 x's on the tomb(Marie Laveau's), turn around three times and leave an offering, marie laveau's spirit will grant your wish.
here's the thing: it's not true. not only is this not a voodoo ritual but it originated from a journalist who falsely claimed to know marie laveau. the myth was perpetuated by the groundkeeper, in a misguided attempt to keep the cemetary from falling to ruins. he would elaborate the ritual depending on how stupid or rich you looked and would suggest leaving ehem...*money* as an offering. later he would return to the tomb, collect the amount and put it into the upkeep of the grounds and crypts.
the origin of the 3 x's stems from the signatures found on the tombs and family crypts. in early times, most were built by very skilled freed slaves who could neither read nor write, therefore each would have their own distinct markings as to differenciate who created which final resting place.
it so happened that the craftsman who constructed marie laveau's tomb's signature was three x's, thus starting the legend.
a word to the wise. do not buy into the myth. if you're caught defacing a crypt you can get fined up to 1000$ for a first time offence.
Fondest memory: the beauty of spirituality you'll notice that eminates from Marie Laveau's tomb. offerings are left for her often. the altar set up in the picture *is* part of voodoo practice, the individual gifts left at the site are offerings to her spirit left by serious worshipers in hopes of gaining her protection as well as other matters.
Marie Laveauýs House of Voodoo-
714 Bourbon Street NO, LA 70119
Enter if you dare- This shop is rife with otherwordly gags and gifts. Inside you will learn the interesting religious history of the area and voodoo culture.
Fondest memory: You will notice in every shop these little dolls. I guess they make a cute souvenir for some people, but not me. It's a real tourist trap item, especially when you see them as magnets, pins, etc. What junk!! If you want to buy some voodoo paraphernalia, the Marie Laveau shop on Bourbon St. has books, mojo bags, and stuff like that.
Favorite thing: Typical voodoo shrine. These shrines are found in all houses of members of the voodoo religion, and are used for invoking spirits.