A Cajun Traiteur : Faith Healing on the Bayou

Return to issue

A Cajun Traiteur : Faith Healing on the Bayou

by Karen Yochim
Southern Cultures, Vol. 10, No. 4: Winter 2004

"In southwestern Louisiana, where the slow running, gumbo-colored bayous and the incredibly wide-spreading mythical oaks mingle with the soft, sultry air to protect and comfort the spirit, it's easy to believe in faith healing."

In southwestern Louisiana, where the slow-running, gumbo-colored bayous and the incredibly wide-spreading mythical oaks mingle with the soft, sultry air to protect and comfort the spirit, it’s easy to believe in faith healing. Cajun traiteurs (treaters), or faith healers, have been ministering to the ill and the injured around the bayous since the eighteenth century, when the Acadians migrated to southwestern Louisiana from France by way of Nova Scotia.

Some traiteurs treat any problem, while others specialize. One traiteur may treat only respiratory problems, for example, while another may heal diseases of the blood, and another, sprains and bone breaks. Wade Theriot, a traiteur who lives hard by the Atchafalaya Swamp, is one of those who treat the afflicted no matter what the problem. He reports successes over the years, even with grave, life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

RELATED CONTENT