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Whatchamacallit 43: Erzulie Freda Ritualized Vodou Doll

Erzulie Freda Ritualized Vodou Doll

For those of you who have Zoomed / Google Hangouted / WebExed / GoToMeetinged with me, over my shoulder there has been Erzulie Freda, a vodou doll I bought in New Orleans.

It is today’s Whatchamacallit after a friend asked about it during cocktail hour earlier this week.

The bottom of the work is labeled “Bayou Bembe Co.” and signed by Baba Luis with the date of 05 – which sounds about right to me. I would guess that I acquired it sometime in 2005. As I recall, it was at the end of an evening walking tour of the city that centered on vodou and paranormal activities in New Orleans – I was on the tour with at least two friends. At the end of the tour we were led to a shop (perhaps “Bayou Bembe Co.”?) and encouraged to buy.

For some reason, I did – and I bought this Vodou Doll from the artist – who was clearly gay and awesome. I have no idea how much I paid for this doll, but it could not have been super expensive. I have managed to save the piece of paper with her description:

Erzulie Freda Ritualized Vodou Doll
The Lwa of love, beauty, passion and prosperity

The most beloved Lwa of all! Mistress Erzulie Freda handles all matters of the heart, romance and love! She is exquisitely beautiful, very helpful to relationships and with bringing prosperity. Erzulie loves anything decadent, fancy and expensive. She is appeased and honored with French perfumes, pink champagnes, make up, silk cloth, jewelry, sweets pastries, pretty hair clips and nail polish.

In other words, she ended up in the wrong home.

Sorry.

She’s had one or two inadvertent falls over the years – but for the moment is pretty safe on the shelf behind my couch. Like the aforementioned painting of Café du Monde, this is a strong reminder of things New Orleans and how much I like the city.

I tried search for Baba Luis on Google but came up empty this time. Which is to say that I searched for him maybe 5 years ago and found evidence of his continued work – with vodou dolls that were so expensive that I would not have been able to afford one in 2005 or at that time. Clearly, after the tour, he had gone way up market.

This is an unusual souvenir choice for me – I do try to avoid objects like this because they collect dust and because they are more difficult to display. Plus I have not been giving her French perfumes, pink champagnes, or any of the other things that she really, really wants. Perhaps that is why I remain single to this day.

Assuming, of course, that you believe in witchcraft and vodou dolls.

A quick, post-writing note: I noted on January 12, 2005, that I had recently bought the doll. Apparently I bought it at Erzulie’s, an authentic voudou store. Even then I already realized that Erzulie Freda had probably ended up at the wrong home. Ha! I am a fortune teller.

If I recall correctly, one of my friends told the tour guide a joke: “What is a lesbian wiccan?” – to which the answer is, naturally, “a liccan.” There was then a brief discussion about the fact that many lesbians are wiccans – something that I am neither able to confirm nor deny.


During the Covid-19 crisis, I am going to try and make a point of writing a blog post about an object in my home.

We’ll see how long this lasts.

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