Date of Defense

Fall 11-19-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Art in Art and Design (MAAD)

Department

The College of the Arts and the School of Art and Design

Concentration

Museum Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Jessica Stephenson

Committee Member

Dr. Cecile Accilien

Committee Member

Dr. Diana McClintock

Abstract

This thesis considers how Voodoo is presented and experienced in various tourism and heritage sites within New Orleans in the present moment. A variety of visual representations, verbal narratives and multimedia performances were documented and analyzed through participant observation. Current tourism relies on the city’s ghost stories, mythology, as well as Voodoo practices and lore, raising questions about the melding of fact and fiction in the potential perpetuation of sensational ideas about the city and its African heritage. Cultural sites discussed in this thesis include Congo Square, the New Orleans Voodoo Museum, Voodoo Authentica, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Isle of Salvation Botanica, two tours lead by guides, and attendance at a Voodoo initiation ceremony. These sites offer different lenses through which to represent and consume Voodoo as tourism and heritage ranging from touristic to the historically and spiritually meaningful.

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