South, America by Rod Davis
On an early Sunday morning walk through the empty streets of the Faubourg Marigny down river of the French Quarter, maverick journalist and Big Easy transplant Jack Prine discovers the body of a well-dressed black man with a bashed-in skull. Soon Jack is drawn into a web of violence threatening Elle Meridian, the victim’s beautiful, complicated sister, burdened with a past she can barely confess. They begin a dangerous, desperate flight through Alabama, the Delta, and back to New Orleans, searching and evading goons, racists, voudou, and family secrets. Deadly ties extend to the Dixie Mafia, priceless stolen art, and debased Southern aristocracy. A final, violent showdown in the Arts District of New Orleans reveals one last nightmarish revelation that may bind Elle, Jack, and mob enforcer “Big Red” for years to come—if any of them survive.
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Corina's Way by Rod Davis
The spirit world of New Orleans incubates a volatile and offbeat mixture of religion, politics, race, and fate in this latter-day parable of the interaction of a man adrift in life and a woman rooted in her faith. As efforts by Corina Youngblood — Christian minister, voudou priestess, and botanica proprietor—to stop the construction by a former Cuban padrino of a SuperBotanica, a “Wal-Mart of spiritual supplies,” begin to founder, she finds accidental alliance with Gus Houston, Acting Chaplain at a prominent girls’ prep school in the Garden District. Despite a calamity in the Gospel Tent at Jazzfest and a cost to her family, she emerges victorious in the struggle. Thanks go to her Jesus, and her santos, as they have all her life, for such is her way.
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American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World by Rod Davis
Voudou (an older spelling of voodoo)—a pantheistic belief system developed in West Africa and transported to the Americas during the diaspora of the slave trade—is the generic term for a number of similar African religions which mutated in the Americas, including santeria, candomble, macumbe, obeah, Shango Baptist, etc. Since its violent introduction in the Caribbean islands, it has been the least understood and most feared religion of the New World—suppressed, out-lawed or ridiculed from Haiti to Hattiesburg. Yet with the exception of Zora Neale Hurston’s accounts more than a half-century ago and a smattering of lurid, often racist paperbacks, studies of this potent West African theology have focused almost exclusively on Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean basin. American Voudou turns our gaze back to American shores, principally towards the South, the most important and enduring stronghold of the voudou faith in America and site of its historic yet rarely recounted war with Christianity. This chronicle of Davis’ determined search for the true legacy of voudou in America reveals a spirit-world from New Orleans to Miami which will shatter long-held stereotypes about the religion and its role in our culture. The real-life dramas of the practitioners, true believers and skeptics of the voudou world also offer a radically different entree into a half-hidden, half-mythical South, and by extension into an alternate soul of America. Readers interested in the dynamic relationships between religion and society, and in the choices made by people caught in the flux of conflict, will be heartened by this unique story of survival and even renaissance of what may have been the most persecuted religion in American history.
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