The Fading Southern Traiteur

Traiteurs combine the talents of healers, medicine men, herbologists, and counselors. You once were able to find them all over the South, but writer Rick Bragg believes they're slipping away.


[BLANK_AUDIO] Hi, I'm Rick Bragg. I first heard about tres tours, and I'm mangling that pronunciation but if I try to say it in French people just laugh at me. But the tres tour is a is kind of a healer. Medicine man. And I first heard about them from a, a, a, a young woman in Louisiana. She had grown up in Morgan City in Cajun Louisiana. And she kept saying they needed to go see the traiteur for her bad back or an upset stomach. Or because they were unlucky in love or because they were angry at someone, and they wanted to not put a hex on them. And that's not the tres tours job, that's a different kind of conjurer. But the Tritou was just like a herbalogist or a, or a, a, a someone who who could, counsel. You know? Didn't have a medical degree. They have a degree from the community. They had community trust. But I never met one until I was in Breaux Bridge Louisiana, standing in a, a, a,a parking lot. And a fella walked up and introduced himself and handed me a card. And and it just had on it tres tours. I kept that card because, the way I live my life I might always need a little help. I never went to a trade tour because I, I always try to handle my bad luck in love on my own. And I've also been a little afraid too. I don't want to go talk to anybody. Who might potentially see beyond, who might see deeper into me than I want him to see, and plus, you know I'm from the hills of the Appellations, we treat a upset stomach with soda and lemon and, and or just a coke cola. A voodoo priestess might have on An elaborate headdress. A tres tours comes to treat you in a polo shirt. I remember a voodoo priestess in New Orleans, you know, would get together and try to pray the hurricanes away, you know, and I think the traiteur would just look at the weather. [SOUND] And go out and nail the shutters up. That's probably the main difference. The trade tour works more in the secular world. [UNKNOWN] tours tend to be Catholic. But I think that's only because everybody is out there. You know? You can't swing a dead cat, and not hit a [UNKNOWN] tours somewhere out there. [SOUND] But you know, it's, how Cajun Louisiana tends to be Catholic. So I think it has a lot more to do with region than necessarily. I just never met a good Methodist trade tour, you know. Or Presbyterian, you know. I'd like to, I bet that be a hoot. I'm not sure that you see as many trade tours, as you used to. But it's like a lot of things in, in the deep south that seem to be slipping away or changing. Maybe we don't go outside as much, the South's kind of, I don't wanna say cultural makeup, but With the way that mystical and spiritual, and, and, and, magical things, they used to just be part of just walking around. Maybe we're too modern For that now.
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