This is Guede, a vodou god in front of the alley that leads to a local temple.
Louie tells me that upon their return from the Katrina exodus, the members of this congregation found these myriad pieces of metal strewn about here at the entrance to the alley leading to their temple, left by the receding flood waters. They welded them together to form this statue of Guede.
When I was doing Louie's play Cobalt Blue, I was actually playing a character based on this god. But I didn't know it. Louie kept that information secret from me. He didn't know how I'd react.
Other people had reacted to his interest in vodou by threatening to burn his home. Since he didn't know me that well at the time, he figured discretion was the better part of personal survival.
It was after the opening night's performance that a friend of his approached me to tell me I'd made a wonderful Guede. I thought she knew Bill Geddes, who had once worked for the Department of Labor. It was only later, meeting her again, when I asked her what the hell she had been talking about, that she told me all about Guede.
I immediately realized what I had lacked in preparing the role. Had I known the secret, I'd have portrayed an antic figure, zestful, teasing, and seductive. Instead, I believe I played him wooden and solemn.
I'm intrigued that a people would give a god dominion over both sexuality and death. I'm intrigued by the kind of mind that would see the connection between the two. It's riotously affirmative. It's compellingly, joyously human - which only makes it more godlike.
It seems to me to be an expression of death as being a final roiling, rollicking, cosmic orgasm precipitating new life.
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