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                                       Research & Recreation

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The following is a list of the many books, and other sources, researchers, writers, academics and the just plain curious may find useful and entertaining. We will attempt to keep adding to the list to make it as useful, and absorbing, as possible.

Subject Search: You can use the search function either in your window menu functions, or on our Home Page to locate, by keywords (Laveau, History, Gris-Gris, Louisiana, author, etc.), which books might be most the focused to your interest. Otherwise, the books are listed separately and alphabetically by the subject groupings:

  • New Orleans & Louisiana Voodoo
  • Voodoo & Africa
  • Haiti, the Caribbean & the Americas
  • Voodoo ~ How To

Note: many of the subject areas criss-cross into other categories in different books.

In most cases, the majority of these books are available in libraries. A few may, (in part), even be on line. If you would like own, or purchase, any of the books, please note the following.

Get the Book: If you want a copy of any book for yourself; even if a given book is not listed in our Gift Shop section, please check with us as we may be able to get it for you. Some books may be very hard to find, or out of print and circulation. If so, if we might be able to help you locate a copy, we will be happy to do try.

Critiques, Reviews and Additions: This section is intended to be interactive so if you have critique, opinion or review you’d like to add to the books listed, either post it to our Blog or drop us an Email.

If you find a new resource you think should be added, let us know about that as well.


New Orleans & Louisiana Voodoo

A New Orleans Voudou Priestess,

The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau

By: Carolyn Morrow Long

Physical Book: 294 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 2006Category: History

Primary Subjects: Marie Laveau

Description: Excellent book that draws the facts of Marie Laveau, and New Orleans Voodoo, through the screen of folklore. Fascinating details reveal the true stories and prove that truth is often stranger than fiction. Objective and thorough, it is an accurate historical resource.

A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore

By: Harold Courtlander

Physical Book: 618 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1976

Category: Folklore, Anthropology, Dance, Songs

Primary Subjects: Folktales, Songs, Dances, Art

Description: Louisiana’s own Compère Lapin emerges as the trickster who reflects the character of the Voodoo spirits in Africa. Dances in Congo Square, songs, gris-gris and the Creole language as well as an encyclopedia of African folkways in the Americas.

Africans in Colonial Louisiana,

The Development of Afro-Creole in the Eighteenth Century

By: Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Physical Book: 434 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1992

Category: History, Ethnography

Primary Subjects: Africa, Louisiana, Slavery

Description: Groundbreaking work that identifies African heritage in Louisiana with specific cultures and places in Africa. Unintentionally serves as a matrix, resource and illustration for the development of Voodoo in Louisiana and proves it’s independence and separate development from Haitian Voodoo.

Creole New Orleans, Race and Americanization

By: Arnold R. Hitsch and Joseph Logsdon, editors

Physical Book: 334 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1992

Category: History, Ethnography, New Orleans, Creole

Primary Subjects: New Orleans, Creole, History

Description: New Orleans is really two cities, one Creole and one American. To understand Voodoo in New Orleans is to understand its origins in the Creole culture and distortions in the American one. The book recalls the unique status of New Orleans’ community of free persons of color during the colonial periods and before the Civil War.

Gumbo Ya-Ya

By: Lyle Saxon, editor

Physical Book: 581 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1946

Category: Folklore, History, Voodoo

Primary Subjects: New Orleans, Louisiana, Voodoo, Superstitions

Description: A collection of Louisiana folktales covering everything from the old Creole French songs sung by street vendors, to pirates, to Cajuns, to Voodoo.

Mysterious Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen

and Folk Tales Along the Mississippi

By: Raymond J. Martinez

Physical Book: 96 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: unknown

Category: Folklore

Primary Subjects: Voodoo, Marie Laveau

Description: Entertaining and colorful tales of Marie Laveau and Voodoo based on folklore. Many diverse black and white illustrations.

The Spirit of Black Hawk

By: Jason Berry

Physical Book: 158 Pages, Hardcover

Year Published: 1995

Category: Ethnography, Africa-American, New Orleans, Mardi Gras

Primary Subjects: Black Spiritualism

Description: Black Hawk is an African American spiritual practice based on Native American spirits. While it denies being Voodoo, it’s practices, especially with potions, are almost identical. Recounts Marie Laveau, Congo Square and the controversy of the origins of Mardi Gras Indians. Basically illustrates the "uptown" (non-creole) parallel (to Voodoo) manifestations of spiritualism in New Orleans. Color photo illustrations.

Voodoo in New Orleans

By: Robert Tallant

Physical Book: 247 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1946, 1974, 2003

Category: History, Folklore

Primary Subjects: New Orleans Voodoo, Marie Laveau

Description: The "classic" account Voodoo and Marie Laveau in New Orleans. Well written, if politically incorrect by current standards, it is the most recognized book on the subject. Based mainly on folklore research conducted by the Worker’s Progress Administration during the Great Depression, what it lacks in historical accuracy it makes up for in color and romance.

Voodoo Queen the Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau

By: Martha Ward

Physical Book: 246 Pages, Hardcover

Year Published: 2004Category: Hybrid History and Fiction

Primary Subjects: Marie Laveau, Zora Neale Hurston,

Description: A blend of good historical data mixed with a personal agenda forced into the prism of Women’s Studies. Easy reading but often the facts and the narrative fiction are indiscernible. Much is based on the original data of Zora Neale Hurston who visited New Orleans in the 1920’s and whose work may reflect more on the business and shenanigans of Hoodoo, than Voodoo.


Voodoo & Africa

Muntu, African Culture and the Western World

By: Janheinz Jahn

Physical Book: 267 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1961, 1990

Category: Anthropology, Culture, Philosophy

Primary Subjects: African Culture, Spirituality and Dance

Description: A comprehension of African spiritual beliefs in contrast Western culture. Identifies the role of dance in the religion. Sometimes relies on Haitian, rather than African, descriptions of Voodoo. Translated from German. Photos.

Possession, Ecstasy & Law in Ewe Voodoo

By: Judy Rosenthal

Physical Book: 282 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1998

Category: Anthropology, Ethnography, Voodoo

Primary Subjects: Voodoo, Africa

Description: An in depth study of Voodoo In Africa. Integrates Voodoo into the social, economic and political realities of contemporary West Africa. Excellent in the comprehension that Voodoo spirits are neither static nor consistent and very subject to parochial, chronological and circumstantial differences.

West Africa, An Introduction to its History

By: Michael Crowder

Physical Book: 214 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1977, 1990

Category: History, Africa, Textbook 

Primary Subjects: History

Description: West African History before, during and after the slave trade. Provides a background and backdrop for the origins of Voodoo. Geography, ethnography and the historical origins of the birthplces of Voodoo in Ifé, Benin and Oyo. Well illustrated.


Haiti, the Caribbean & the Americas

Divine Horsemen, The Living Gods of Haiti

By: Maya Deren

Physical Book: 350 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1952. 1970, 1983, 1991

Category: Anthropology, Folklore

Primary Subjects: Haiti, Voodoo

Description: An in depth review of Haitian Voudoun. Chapters include a survey of spirits (loas), rituals, priest and priestesses, drums, dance, vevers (mystical signs), glossary and other related subjects. Hand drawings, map and some photos.

Secrets of Voodoo

By: Milo Rigaud

Physical Book: 219 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1998

Category: Voodoo, Anthropology

Primary Subjects: Voodoo, Haiti,

Description: Clear and encompassing explanation of Voodoo in Haiti. Covers spirits, rituals and characteristics of Haitian Voodoo.


The Serpent and the Rainbow

By: Wade Davis

Physical Book: 371 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1985

Category: Anthropology, Biology, History

Primary Subjects: Zombis, Haiti, Voodoo

Description: An exposé of the legends and reality of zombies in Haiti. The author, a Harvard Scientist, explains the biological process of creating a zombi against the historical and religious matrix of Haiti. Some photo illustrations.


Voodoo ~ How To

Hoodoo and Voodoo, the Craft as Revealed

by Traditional Practitioners

By: Jim Haskins

Physical Book: 228 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1978, 1990

Category: Anthropology, How To

Primary Subjects: Voodoo, Hoodoo

Description: Some historical context mixed with contemporary citations. Mainly a collection of "how tos" associated with the superstitions of Hoodoo. Photo illustrations.

Jambalaya, The Natural Woman’s Book of

Personal Charms and Practical Rituals

By: Luisah Teish

Physical Book: 268 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: 1985

Category: Personal Memoir, How To Book

Primary Subjects: Orisha, Afro-Centric Spirituality, Voodoo

Description: A "how to" constructed through very personal beliefs. While the book pays homage to Marie Laveau and New Orleans it contains mainly universal Afro-Centric practices and advocacy. Hand drawn illustrations and several charts.

Voodoo Charms and Talisms

By: Robert Pelton

Physical Book: 142 Pages, Paperback

Year Published: [copyrighted] 1997

Category: How To

Primary Subjects: Hoodoo, Voodoo, Occult

Description: Written and reads like a recipe book. Oriented mostly to the superstitions, fetishes and products of the Hoodoo business. Potions, oils, powders, incense and numerology.

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