Voodoo Spiritual Temple rebuilt after fire

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Voodoo Spiritual Temple rebuilt after fire

Cole Gautereaux

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A year after an electrical fire scorched its 21-year-old building, the Voodoo Spiritual Temple is resettled and looking forward to the future.

Priestess Miriam Chamani said the majority of the temple’s artifacts were left unscathed by the flames. With the help of friends and community members, Chamani was able to relocate the organization to a double-shotgun house in the historic Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.

Chamani said the fire helped her appreciate the temple community.

“It’s like it were something that was inevitable to happen” Chamani said. “It wasn’t about crushing me or destroying anything. … It’s to unbox a pattern in order to see how the divine has organized a body of humanity surrounding the space you’re sitting in. You reach a pivotal point in your existence where you think that maybe you were supposed to have this moment so you can see how much has become a part of your life.”

Chamani added that she was able to pay her rent and bills immediately after the fire because she had just been paid for an initiation.

Chamani said when she returned after the fire, she found her belongings soaked from the firefighters, but most things were left intact. She said she was neither shaken nor distraught over the fire; rather, she saw it as a message to move to a new location.

According to Chamani, relocating a temple typically requires several steps toward approval, but this particular transition was very smooth.

“Those who helped me were extraordinary,” Chamani said. “To see the spirit working with [my friend] to pack my things was amazing. It works things out, and you sit there and say ‘Wow, OK.’”

The community itself has been thriving as well. People come to visit seeking Chamani’s guidance from all over the world, as well as to purchase trinkets from the temple’s cultural center. Chamani said the temple is a tight-knit, small yet global cluster of people ranging from New Orleans to New York and from France to Russia.

Chamani said she is looking forward to what the future has in store. She said she has no desire to stop serving the temple community anytime soon.

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