The Loup Garou is a wild and dangerous entity well anchored in the folk traditions of Louisiana. There is a lonely dark road through the Big Branch Marsh in LaCombe, Louisiana, where I live that runs eastward towards Slidell and the old 11 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain. It meanders across Bayou Lacombe and bayou Bonfouca. I take this road to go visit the city.
Over the years I have come to call it the Loup-Garou road. At night, it is dark, eerie, forbidding. Water vines hanging from giant trees look like snakes in the shadows and sudden noises, such as cracking branches, rustling leaves, thumping and grunting often cause one to roll up the windows and lock the doors.
The Loup-Garou is part human and part wolf, changing its appearance at will, sometimes with red eyes and sometimes with yellow-green eyes but always armed with huge fangs and serrated teeth.. The Loup-Garou may be an ancestral spirit, it may be the spirit of a barren and vengeful woman. It may be both.
The Loup-Garou came from France through the Caribbean islands to Louisiana.
I remember childhood summers in the Massif Central in France. The mountains are crossed by rocky streams: it's a country of sheep-hearding and there are stories of wolves and of the Loup-Garou. In fact the Loup-Garou is found in almost all the mountainous regions of Europe. There would have always been native wolves preying on the flocks and at times there would have been that awesome wolf that no hunter could catch so strong and cunning was it. So elusive. Those wolves became the stuff of legends. These areas : the Massif Central, the foot of the Alps or the Pyrenees are also the areas were wild children were found throughout the ages: babies suckled and raised by she-wolves. Could it be that the Loup-Garou sometimes killed a woman as she crossed a dangerous forest but spared her baby and gave it to a she-wolf to raise?
Transported to Louisiana, was it meant to dissuade the slaves from running away during the night? Also a barren woman would have been less valuable to the slave-owner than a woman who could produce many children. The fear of turning into a Loup-Garou, of becoming possessed by such a Spirit would have been a great encouragement to women to bear many children.
The Louisiana Loup-Garou is associated with the Pearl River.. The Pearl River delta -known as the Honey Island Swamp - is well known for its swamp monster. Could it be in fact a Loup-Garou? All of these marshes are connected and very closely linked by the bayous, the lakes, the Pearl River.. Who truly inhabits these forbidding dark lands in the dead of the night?
Ancestral Spirit or spirit born of revenge, the Loup-Garou exhibits physical traits that remind us of our primeval roots and our primal fears. We fear the wilderness around us and that which is wild within us.
The artist in us must dare to be wild! We must transcend and transform the ordinary in the world and in ourselves. To live among our peers, we accept certain norms and functons but our true emotions, unrestrained personalities and separate perceptions come out in our art.
I strive to bring the mysterious and wild beauty of Louisiana into my art, nourishing the legend always.
Please browse through this site and see for yourself the magical beauty of our Louisiana Art, all offered at reasonable prices for your personal enjoyment.
Severina Singh is the owner and artist featured at Loup Garou Road Online Gallery. She is a writer, an artist, a photographer, a medicine woman and Voodoo priestess in the New Orleans tradition. She is the founder and owner of New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads & La Sirena Botanica L.LC.
Severina has written poetry and short stories since the age of 17 and was very active as a modern and ethnic dancer, and a choreographer She taught yoga and creative movement for over 20 years. Her poetry readings, dance performances and ritual works have been seen in Paris, London, San Francisco, New York and New Orleans throughout the 80s and 90s.
I founded New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads as an online botanica and resource site for the dissemination of spiritual medicine and information about the true practice and beliefs of New Orleans Voodoo. I also co-authored Voodoo at Cafe Puce with the well known Voodoo Priest Rev. Louis Martinie'. My passionate love for Louisiana transcended my upbringing in France and was nurtured by my free-lance work as a Louisiana tour guide over the course of many years, as well as my involvement in the music, dance and arts in New Orleans.
I now live in my small country cottage with my dogs, goats, birds and snake on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and continue my spiritual practice and healing work.
I also have immersed myself more than ever into visual arts, photography, painting and sculpture which I see as extensions of the good medicine and a spiritual bridge between the disappearing lands of Louisiana, its people and the world.
Now, I have founded Loup Garou Road as a vehicle to share my Louisiana -inspired arts with the world as well as to help heal the region and its people.
The nature photographs are all taken during my forays in the beautiful countryside I have called home for over 35 years. I particularly like the swamps and marshes of Louisiana, their fauna and flora.
New Orleans is a city scaled to real life and there is always something happening there. New Orleanians love to mask, costume and party -traditions that date back to the early French settlers. The Caribbean and African influences are seen in the costumes and heard in the sounds, the drums, jazz, the second-line, even at funeral processions. I look for those splendid moments to capture, those that reminds us of the rich culture and the grace we feel living in and around a city that is still joyful and delightful and scaled to real life. New Orleans is often spoken of as one of the few pedestrian cities in the US, but really it is made for dancing not walking.
My first foray into painting was in the medium of watercolors - a very long time ago. I still occasionally watercolor and am planning for more - flowers, still-life and others.
I have also become fascinated with the beautiful Haitien Voodoo flags and have created some of my own but with brush on canvas and for the most part using metallic paints to give them that shiny exuberance.
Amazing satellite photographs present to us the natural beauty of our planet and though we often think of the Earth as the blue planet it is hardly monochrome. For my series of Above Earth paintings, my point of departure is a photograph but just as I think I have it fixed in my mind's eye, I find the hand and its extension the brush have pathways and proportions and colors all of their own. Yet the feeling that always comes through these works is of giving back love, thanks and healing . There is flux always, on our planet, movement and changes, so indeed I never set out to reproduce but I allow the earth spirit itself to guide me to a place of balance, harmony, beauty and love. Each one of these paintings is a meditation from start to finish and can also be used as focus for your own meditation upon the Earth. May the healing take place as it should.
I have many other sources of inspiration: tribal customs from Madagascar and the burial practices of our own above- ground cemeteries gave birth to the mummy-like beings I create out of clay, sticks and cloth, then attach to a canvas, like Ancient Ones journeying towards us, to guide us, protect us, speak to us. They may be from the very distant past or they may be from the future as well, from a day of future extinction. I have made such Ancestors' paintings for a few years now, and they have gone to homes in England, Poland, Wales, Portugal, Australia and the US. More can be seen on the Arts page at www.neworleansvoodoocrossroads.com.
I am always ready to discuss my work and accept commissions. You can e-mail me at email@example.com.