Interview at Lakou Souvnans Summary


Material Information

Interview at Lakou Souvnans Summary
Abbreviated Title:
Hebblethwaite and Antone interview Sèvitè Fernand Bien-Aimé and Ongan Alisma
Physical Description:
This is the transcribed and translated interview of our video collection
Haitian Creole
Benjamin Hebblethwaite, Tahiri Jean-Baptiste and Megan Raitano
Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean Area, Lakou Souvnans, Vodou in Gonayiv, Dahomian Vodou in Haiti   ( lcsh )


This is an interview that Hebblethwaite and Antone conducted on November 2, 2012, at Lakou Souvnans in Haiti, with Sèvitè Fernand Bien-Aimé, the Vodou priest in charge of Souvnans, and Ongan Alisma, our friend and guide. We thank all involved for making our visit and interview so special. This work was generously funded by the UF-Duke NEH Collaborative Grant.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Copyright 2014 Jean Baptiste, Raitano, and Hebblethwaite Funded by the UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant Summary of Interview at Lakou Souvnans Summarized by Tahiri Jean Baptiste Edited by Megan Raitano and Benjamin Hebblethwaite Lakou Souvnans is one of the oldest Vodou homesteads in Haiti, and according to Svit BienaimŽ it has been around for more than two hundred years. Leadership at the Lakou is assigned for life within a family network. The home stead is very large and serves people from all ove r Haiti and even some from the United S tates. The yard includes over one hundred homes and people. The homestead itself operates on two levels : the social level and the administrative level The social level is in the form of ceremony logistics: arranging food, chairs, and planning The administrative aspect takes the form of individual consultations with the Svit and presiding over ceremonies. This can cause stratification within the homestead as some members would rather the Svit take on the administrative role and leave the s ocial aspect to the Vodouists or the residents of the homestead. Vodou and Vodouists are regulated and disciplined by the Lwa. Those disciplined by the Lwa are held by their limbs in the roots of trees until their misdeed is purged (called sp ). During o ur visit in 2012, we noticed several individuals who were held in the craggy roots of trees by an invisible force. They rely on this disciplinary method to maintain order and justice within Vodou The sp is also the way in which future initiates are identified. In terms of anti Vodou campaigns against Vodou, the Svit emp hasizes that the Lwa will care for Vodouists The Vodouists themselves do not go after anyone looking to harm Vodouists they leave that to the Lwa The Svit is concerned with th e care of the women and children living on the homestead and encourages his male residents to do the same. He emphasizes the maintenance and proliferation of Lakou Souvnans despite economic difficulties and limited support from the government Note that upon our return in 2013, the Lakou 's peristyle area had received significant upgrades in terms of bleachers for seating and a new coat of paint at government expense. The Vodou practitioners of Lakou Souvnans regard Vodou as a religion that is not to be taken lightly or reduced to folklore and t hey welcome its spread across the world. Keywords and phrases : Vodou, Lwa, homestead, administration, ceremony, folklore, anti Vodou campaigns, justice