No, and Haitian Voodoo and New Orleans Voodoo are not the same as African Voodoo either. Voodoo is a religion of African origin brought to Latin Catholic areas with the slave trade. New Orleans Voodoo is one of many resulting diaspora traditions which developed differently as to the specific needs in the area it landed. The African slave trade came directly to the New World in Louisiana —not by way of Haiti, which is mistakenly claimed. Though slave s were taken from the same areas or tribes in Africa. The long trip was made here directly as to avoid pirating of the slaves. Those slaves who survived managed to bring their spirits (voodoos, Loas or mysteries) and beliefs safely ashore. Both New Orleans and Haiti were under French rule but had a totally different attitudes towards slavery. New Orleans allowed Voodoo to take root here earlier and more openly due to the slave autonomy that existed in Louisiana that did not exist in Sainte Domingue until after the revolution of 1797. Haitian refugees fleeing the revolution, both black and white poured into New Orleans after 1804—they had been disallowed under Spanish and French rule. Even with the latter acceptance of Haitian planters and their slaves by the new Americans, the immigration was cautious and fearful.
When Louisiana fell under new American rule tens of thousands of people poured into this port town from all over the country. New Orleans was on its way to becoming the richest town in the country creating an ever increasing need for the skills of voodoo. The demand arose out of both need and fear. The Haitian migration made Voodoo more newsworthy than the everyday practice that was a part of Creole life. The new Americans wrote and covered this curious and feared practice. With a series of ritual coverage and voodoo reports, to the untrained eye it looked like a new phenomenon. Haitian Voodoo then mixed her magic into the Creole traditions but La Grande Zombi (BiKongo great ancestral God) prevailed as the Great God through the 19th century Voodoo hey day. The Congo square voodoo rituals grew in number and popularity to become the first tourist spot in the South. Due to the increasing popularity of the worship and the fear of revolution in our own land the new American government found it necessary to make a law permitting these gatherings and limiting their duration , The rituals had continuously been going on here already since the 1730’s. At first glance it appears historically like the Americans were being benevolent by legalizing such things in 1817, when in actuality it was put into law only so it could be controlled. This was the only free meeting place for the slaves to gather in the western hemisphere on their day off of Sunday. The law added the stipulation that it had to be supervised. Supervision had never needed for the past 77 years. Eventually the Americans outlawed the gatherings all together by flickering on and off the right of assembly . This, of course, simply spread Voodoo more overtly into other areas of town, deeper into the swamp and more quietly crammed into closets, Voodoo became more clandestine only after the Civil war
Records from the beginning of Louisiana show Voodoo as a contributing factor of Creole (native born) survival especially from its healing knowledge. With a high death toll and difficult travel, a form of inter-dependency grew: plantation voodoo provided healing and magical assistance for many. Creole Voodoo was experienced and shared multi-culturally from the beginning of the slave trade in Louisiana. By the time of the Great Marie Laveau, 1820’s to the 1870’s, Voodoo was associated with the name New Orleans the world over. Voodoo was also explored in some cases as negative, noted in cases from the earliest of Superior Council and the Cabildo government records. The infamous “gris-gris case” which concluded that the government would not acknowledge magical powers, but could opt to prosecute poisoners. Though, this seems to be a borrowed Haitian tale rather than a New Orleans one. Voodoo here was blended into life, fearing it only occasionally. Magic mingled , traditions blended and became a part of everyday life.