Here’s journalist Aaron Millar on his 2017 trip to Louisiana, featuring some jazz, some swamp hunting, and a visit to a traiteur, from his Nat Geo UK story “Louisiana: Hoodoo and Voodoo, Ghosts and Graves.”
“Becca Begnaud is a sassy, sweet-looking older woman with warm hugs, gentle eyes and a mouth like a trailer park — surely the only faith healer on the planet to say the words ‘holy shit’ every other sentence. I like her instantly.”
He gets a treatment – for what he doesn’t say, none of our business I guess.
“And then, the strangest thing; for just a moment, it’s as if the river is real, the world disappears and I’m in a kind of peaceful, lucid dream. Afterwards, I open my eyes, but Becca’s already smiling: ‘See, I told you,’ she says. ‘This shit is real.'”
I think I’ll be quoting Becca the traiteur all the damn time.
For a more academic but still quite accessible look at traiteurs, see Julia Swett’s article “French Louisiana Traiteurs” in Folklife in Louisiana. Once I finally get this ship floating on its own again, so to speak, I’m gonna start doing interviews, and Julia’s gonna be one of my first ones.