The New Orleans Chapel of the Santisima Muerte

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Description

The New Orleans Chapel of the Santisima Muerte is a public, outdoor shrine dedicated to the Mexican folk saint, La Santisima Muerte. It is in the Mid City area of New Orleans, LA, and is owned and maintained by Steven Bragg (Sta Muertero Steven). The Chapel is registered as a Non-Profit Organization in the State of Louisiana and Orleans Parish.

General Information

The shrine opens up directly to Palmyra Street in between S. Olympia and S. Murat Streets. It is available 24/7 for anyone to leave offerings and donations to la Santisima Muerte. There are lights that stay on throughout the night, and the neighborhood is peaceful and safe.

About the Founder

I am a devotee and spiritual worker of La Muerte. I'm also involved in African Diasporic Religions. I am an Houngan Asogwe of Haitian Vodou, having received the asson from Bo Mambo Marie Carmel Charles of Sosyete La Fraicheur Belle Fleur Guinea of Long Island, NY, and Petionville, Haiti. I am also Padre Nganga of Palo Mayombe Corta Lima from Miami, FL, Munanso Zarabanda Rompe Monte ba Quenda Nsila. In Western traditions I am a 3rd Degree High Priest in four traditions of witchcraft (Gardnerian, Alexandrian, NY Welsh, and Minoan) and am the High Priest of the Crescent City Coven in New Orleans, LA. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and World Religious Studies from Mississippi Statue University, May 2000.

Origin of the Chapel

The New Orleans Chapel of the Santisima Muerte owes its existence to the teachings of Nick Arnoldi, aka Hechicero Nick. A New Jersey native, Nick spent a year in Mexico in 2001 and met an hechicero (native sorcerer) who was known as Don Gilberto within his community. When someone was born with a special gift to work within the spiritual realm for the benefit of the community he was said to have the "don." Don Gilberto passed Nick the system of working with La Muerte which consisted of the three robes of white, red, and black. Nick returned to NJ and maintained his personal connection to la Flaka, working for clients over the years. Nick and I met in MA in 2008, but it wasn't until after I returned to New Orleans that the subject of the Santa Muerte came up. Before returning she had approached me in a dream and offered a solution to a problem I was having. At that point, not having any experience with her, I was hesitant, but I accepted. She fulfilled her end of the bargain, and I repaid her as best I could. She remained content with this until about a year later when she made it known she wanted me to work with her more. I set the condition that she needed to bring me a teacher before I'd go further with her, and right after is when Nick brought his devotion and workings with her. A couple of days later Nick contacted me saying La Muerte came to him in a dream and instructed him to teach me and pass along Don Gilberto's system.

 

La Muerte wasted no time in responding to my prayers through this system, and she quickly became the dominant spiritual force in my life and practices. Once I got to a comfortable point with her I asked for a major, personal favor. Within a couple of weeks she delivered what I asked for, and I knew then that this relationship was the one I'd been preparing for most of my life. So, in payment I built an outdoor shrine as my way of spreading her devotion. Around the same time, the indoor space I had set up for her grew exponentially, and she eventually took over an entire room in my home. This became the indoor, private chapel. Before I could even put on the finishing touches, Santisima began to bring other people to attend the chaplet services I hold for her, and in two and a half years there is now a very close-knit family of devotees and beginning workers who live in New Orleans and other places. We've been honored to have as guests other traditional workers of La Muerte, as well as Prof. Andrew Chesnut, the leading academic of Santa Muerte in the English-speaking world.


Tragically, Nick's life ended soon after my training in his system was completed. It seemed Santisima Muerte wanted him to pass along his teachings before she came for him. He has an altar in the chapel, and I make certain to keep his memory alive and spirit honored. Without him, none of this would have been possible. I've been blessed to have some of his friends in New Jersey contact me and send me many of his statues and devotional items to continue their service in the New Orleans Chapel. His best friend, Lorraine, who knew Nick since high school and remembers when he was in Mexico has visited, and we've exchanged stories of Nick's personal and spiritual life.


The New Orleans Chapel in the News


This year I've been interviewed by several news outlets and the New Orleans Chapel has been mentioned in several articles.


In November 2013, the shrine was featured on Miami Univision, here


In March 2014, I was in an article for AP, here.


In April 2014, I was on Hex Education of blog talk radio, here


In October 2014, I was featured in three pieces. 

NPR/Latino USA, here

Salt Lake City Weekly, here.

Lamar University Press, here.


In November 2014, I was featured in Vice, here


In December 2014, I was featured in NBC News, here.