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Sacred Spaces: New Orleans
The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Credit: Pierina Benvenuto)
The city of New Orleans is in a cycle of renewal. During our time there we saw spaces full of grandeur and decrepitude. Mansions and slums sit next door to one another and infrastructures seem fragile. The city is at once struggling and letting go of its hold on the environment. Five years after Hurricane Katrina, there is still a feeling of vulnerability and grief. We felt that the people we met were engaged stewards of their sacred places in this historic city.
During our visit to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, Priestess Miriam said to me, that like her -- I too was a "Floater." We had come to America from faraway lands, me from Ireland and she, via her ancestors in Africa. We found commonality -- what better city for a Floater to find a home, than one who is awash in the waters of a great delta? The Voodoo religion is strong in New Orleans simply because -- like the city, there is something for everyone -- all mixed together like sacred gumbo. No matter what your background, we hope that you find solace and peace in the spaces we suggest in our guide.
Many of the spaces are linked together by one of the main arteries defining the Crescent City: St. Charles Avenue. Winding from the Central Business District and Canal Street through the Garden District, and Uptown, the avenue is lined with a stately parade of sacred spaces. They are connected via our secular selection -- The St. Charles Avenue Streetcar. With the spaces threaded together by the stops on this line, you can use this mobile sacred space as a method to travel. Relax, enjoy and watch out for your stop. This will be the tour of a lifetime.
St. Charles Ave. Streetcar (Credit: Alex Ratliff)
Download the New Orleans Sacred Spaces Guide
Download the New Orleans guide here (PDF).
Tell us about your experience on the tour or your favorite Sacred Space in New Orleans. Create a page in the God in America Faithbook or submit a video to WGBH Lab's Open Call, or leave us a comment below.
About Sacred Space International
Visit Sacred Space International's website for more information.
Published October 11, 2010