Wow. This is a unique case of very different parties uniting over a common concern.
Perhaps no other city in the United States is as well-suited as New Orleans to wed a scientific discussion of environment with a celebration of the occult.
That’s exactly what unfolded on Saturday at “Anba Dlo,” an annual New Orleans festival where prominent scientists joined with practitioners of the voodoo religion to look for answers to the challenges of dealing with water.
The festival, now in its seventh year, is the brainchild of Sallie Ann Glassman, a longtime New Orleans resident who is a high priestess in the Haitian religion of voodoo and an anti-poverty activist.
During the afternoon symposium, which drew about 100 people, both Katrina and the BP oil spill figured prominently in the discussion about how Louisiana can restore its coastal marshes.
As twilight fell on New Orleans, the scientific discussion faded into the background and hundreds of costumed revelers gathered for a parade that would launch a night of live music, psychic readings and acrobatic performances.
I really really like this idea. In many aspects, issues that have a scientific basis must be emotionally sold to the public. If using trusted non-science outlets can do, including those of religious beliefs, so be it.
Once upon a time I conducted a workshop where the participants were to image a community problem that was tackled by groups of diverse interest. There is often a piece of common ground to focus on. This is coalition building and it’s how human society moves forward.