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New Orleans Community Uses Voodoo to Chase Away Drug Dealers


October 1995

A neighborhood on the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter is using voodoo practices to expel drug dealers from their area (Rick Bragg, "New Orleans Conjures Old Spirits Against Modern Woes," New York Times, August 18, 1995, p. A10).

In one ceremony staged on August 16, community members danced and beat on drums, calling for the appearance of the spirit Ogoun La Flambeau. Ogoun is thought to be the most evil of the spirits. Participants asked Ogoun to scare the drug dealers away.

Residents of the neighborhood say the New Orleans Police Department has not helped them stop drugs and violence. "At night, the whole neighborhood is lit up with crack pipes," one participant said. "I called it our thousand points of light."

Although the leader of the ceremony claims Ogoun made an appearance that day, it remains to be seen if he holds sway with drug dealers.