SINNERS AND SAINTS
Your mamma used to say, just go to Church! Sometimes you listened, sometimes you ditched to go hang out with your friends. Distractions in New Orleans are galore, especially as a visitor. You are lured left and right with temptations of the flesh and of the spirit: Excess is the word. The sin of gluttony is served heavily on many a plate in indulgences of fancy food, fun and frolic plus add in the nightclubs with their own form of Bacchanalian buffets of liquor free pouring it makes it really hard to dance in a straight line well, but ya wanna!. Through the ever represent music serenading you in tempos from quiet acappella driving toward the echo of Voodoo drums and carrying you all the way to blaring brass second lines – distractions are everywhere. So are the ghosts. They like the music, they like the food, they like the booze and the dead can dance too. So many things are bombarding your senses here, from both the supernatural and the physical plane that it is hard to know what to do or what not to do. On top of all that and much to my chagrin the new New Orleans has become that annoying commercial tourist town with barkers hawking their wares left and right, all trying to take a cut and get their kickback. Sell, sell, sell – it’s buyer beware from those types. And its overload for all.
So When it feels like you are going to hell in a hand basket and you are not sure which way to turn or what to do: listen to your mamma and go to church! Sometimes you need a break. You need to escape all those New Orleans sinners and look toward the Saints. Though, I am a New Orleans Saints fan, I am not talking about football here. I say seek sanctuary in some sacred sites and breathe in the architecture and spiritual presence of New Orleans magnificent churches, temples and cathedrals.
- Swamps Spread throughout and under New Orleans are these somewhat forgotten but important sacred sites. Worship at the edge of bayous and river as do Native American, Wiccan and Voodoo adherents while canopied under the greatest cathedral-the sky. Headed by Maman You- the Mississippi River with her water system that feeds us all. These outdoor sanctuaries historically referred to as Arbor Churches
- Ashade Meadows Peristyle This is my home base voodoo Houfort in Bywater neighborhood , headed by Haitian Mambo Sallie Anne Glassman
- Le Salon Spiritual Verdi & Arbor Church – This is my home New Orleans Voodoo temple and spirit realm In mid- city; headed by New Orleans Voodoo Queen Mother Mary , Mambo and family tradition temple.
- Priestess Miriam’s Spiritual Temple on Rampart Street in French Quarter, headed by Priestess Mririam Shamani.
- St. Mary’s of Assumption. This is my #1 favorite Catholic church . The church is incredibly spirit filled and Holy. I go there for the Saint Seelos center and to bask in the spiritual energy and feel the intercessory power of the Saints’ relics. I have also confessed a few sins within those walls. As an avid traveler and seeker of beauty and sacred sites, I can attest to the fact that St. Mary’s of Assumption ranks high compared to the European cathedrals in this country where I make my pilgrimages. This style is German Baroque.I will even take you there on my private Sinners and Saints tours.
- St. Alphonsus Italian Church, right across from St, Mary’s, is full of life with its faded beauty, glorious Italian frescos painted by artists from Florence, and it’s somewhat robust Saints statuary. St. Alphonsus can be rented out for parties at times and we have done cemetery fundraisers there in the past for “Friends of New Orleans Cemeteries” (a non-profit group i was a part of). We danced on the altar and under the frescos as the band played..
- St. Jude’s. I love many aspects of St. Jude, also known as Our Lady Of Guadalupe but, originally, known as the Mortuary Chapel. When it was constructed in 1826 it was built solely for the purpose of funerals. It stands as the oldest church in New Orleans. Note the stained glass windows, beautiful statues of Saints and the Lady of Lourdes Grotto on the side. You can fill up your holy water needs in the open air patio and the ever-flowing font. One huge attraction here is Saint Expedite. Saint Expedite is technically the Saint against procrastination, but he is also a very popular Voodoo Saint called upon for many quick needs and other clandestine missions or expeditions, as well as the new friend of the nerds.
- St. Louis Cathedral dominates Jackson Square in the center of the French Quarter, between St. Ann and St. Peter on Chartres Street. This Catholic Church welcomes all patrons to enter during the day and to attend service on Saturdays and Sundays. St. Louis cathedral is the oldest Basilica in the country and a popular place for New Orleans weddings. Though, it is actually the third church on the property it is breathtaking and beautiful to behold
- St. Theresa of Avila-Located on Erato street is this small but quaint church whose subtle exterior betrays the gorgeous interior. This was my mothers favorite so this ranks on my list.
- Christ Church Episcopal is a historic landmark on St Charles Ave and is Gothic Cathedral style