My Voodoo Queen

By John Gangone

The right little boat at the right time creates a fragile magic that helps melt this couple's cares away.

Photo of the helm of the 2000 Sea Ray 330 EC

Back in 2005, my wife Barbara and I took a long weekend and headed to New Orleans to do all the usual tourist things. We went to the cemetery where Marie Laveau — the original voodoo queen, infamous in New Orleans lore — is entombed, and afterward, as a lark, we visited a voodoo priestess. Sitting in a quiet room full of candles, the dramatic woman began telling us stories about where she was born, what her life has been like, and how she had become a voodoo priestess.

To our surprise, she also told us some accurate personal things about ourselves that only we could know. "Voodoo is not like what you see on TV, or like the stories you've heard about bringing the dead back to life," she said. She told us more about Marie Laveau, a Roman Catholic who made medicines from plants and roots and gave them to people for all sorts of reasons — if they were ill, wanted a lover, or even if they wanted to get rid of a lover. Whatever it was, Marie Laveau had something for just about everyone.

I asked the priestess if there was anything in voodoo that could help me in my life. She lowered her voice and asked me to think of something that brings me joy. I told her I loved boating and being on the water. "Well then, that's your voodoo," she said, and explained that voodoo can be made up of things in our lives that make us feel good, make us smile, and clear our heads.

Several difficult years followed my encounter with this priestess. I lost my job of 32 years, and it took more than two tough years to find my new position. But it finally happened. Once Barbara and I were back on our feet, we purchased a 2000 Sea Ray 330 EC. I'd never forgotten our encounter with the priestess, and how what she had said ended up giving me so much hope. We decided to name our boat Voodoo Queen. The boat is a work in progress, but it never fails to make Barbara and me smile. It's kind of a fragile magic being aboard her. I can't explain it, but we get this spiritual feeling that just makes us relax and feel happy.

These days, you can usually find us cruising and fishing aboard Voodoo Queen on the east end of Long Island, New York, from the Peconic Bays to Block Island, and through Long Island Sound. She can sometimes be found at a berth at Lighthouse Marina in Aquebogue. If you see us, stop by and say hello. You might feel her magic, or become more inspired to embrace more of the magic in your own life. The right boat has a way of doing that. 

John manages a self-storage facility in New Hyde Park, New York. He and Barbara have been living in Huntington, New York, for 17 years, and he's been boating and fishing for four decades.

— Published: October/November 2013

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