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Katrina Disperses New Orleans' Voodoo Community

Since the late 1960s, visitors to the French Quarter in New Orleans have thrilled to its evocative little voodoo shops. One of those shops, however, caters not to tourists but to those for whom voodoo is a spiritual tradition and a community.

New Orleans Mistic owner Don Glossup has returned to his shop in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but says most of the homes near his store are too damaged for habitation.

Many of Glossup's locally born customers practice a sort of a vernacular voodoo, less organized religion than folk spirituality. He says those customers were generally from the neighborhoods hardest hit by Katrina.

Now, the future of voodoo in New Orleans seems uncertain, as does the future of Glossup's shop. Meanwhile, displaced residents such as Ava Kay Jones and Elmer Glover are maintaining their spiritual practices in as evacuees in new locations.

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Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.