Crescent City Collectors
New Orleans Lingo
Terms relevant to New Orleans.
bokor A vodoun priest or magician who practices black magic. A houngan can be a bokor, but this is rare.
Cajun A Louisianian descended from French-speaking Acadia (corrupting the word “Acadian”); also describes other rural settlers, as well as food or music.
Code Noir The “Black Code” adopted by the French in 1724 governing the conduct of free people-of-color.
Creole A free person of African, French or Spanish descent born in Spanish America; also refers to food or music.
Grand Derangement Literally “forced migration”; the massive dispersal of over 10,000 Acadians following the 18th century wars between England and France.
gris-gris A term for the charms, talismans and other mystical items of vodoun.
hounfour Inner sanctum or altar room for the practice of vodoun; alternatively, a general term for any vodoun temple.
houngan A priest of vodoun.
krewe A club that sponsors festivals and events.
lagniappe Literally, a “little something extra”; any small gift from a local.
loa Spirits of divine origin that serve Bondye (God); they expect worship and respect, but can be imposed upon to grant favors in return.
mambo Initiated vodoun priestess; equivalent to a houngan.
mulatto Child of a black person and a white person.
peristyle The building or outdoor area where vodoun ceremonies are held; often, but not always, bordering or near a hounfour.
quadroon A term referring to a person that is one-quarter black.
veve A symbolic design representing one of the loa.
vodouisant A believer in vodoun; a worshipper of the loa.