You are probably familiar with the tie between New Orleans and voodoo. Most have heard of Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. But have you heard of Doctor John Montanet? He was a spiritual force of nature in 19th century New Orleans.
Born in Senegal in the early 1800s, he was sold into slavery after being kidnapped as a young boy. Freed eventually, he boarded a Spanish ship and worked as a cook before disembarking in New Orleans. He took a job rolling cotton on the wharf. It was there that his life took a strange turn. You see, he began telling fortunes by “reading” the bales of cotton.
A Profitable Endeavor
Skilled at reading people he soon amassed enough money to buy a home in New Orleans. He kept a harem of at least fifteen wives and had many children. Doctor John had a great knowledge of herbs and the medicinal properties of plants. His services were not cheap and at some point he teamed with Marie Laveau to sell potions and charms. Legend says he instructed Marie Laveau in Gris-Gris which is an amulet or symbol of good luck and protection from evil spirits.
After a few bad business decisions Doctor John ended up broke and living with one of his daughters. Another Dr. John, New Orleans blues legend, took his stage name from Montanet and appropriately titled his first album Gris-Gris.
New Orleans’ history is rich with stories of people and places that still influence our culture to this day. We love to share this history with you! Tours are up and running again for private, small, familiar groups which means no mixed bookings with people you don’t know. We strive to give you the safest and best possible tour experience. We can’t wait to show you around!
The Savvy Native is a group of experienced local tour guides who were either born in New Orleans or wish they had been.
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