Healing Traditions of South Louisiana: Mary Broussard Perrin and Beverly Constantine Fuselier

Our guests are Mary Broussard Perrin and Beverly Constantine Fuselier, authors of Healing Traditions of South Louisiana.

Their book provides a fascinating history of South Louisiana’s traditional healing arts from the dawn of civilization to today. Part One is about traiteurs (male) and traiteuses (female), their prayers, and rituals. Part Two presents the native medicinal plants that grow wild in South Louisiana, their properties and their traditional uses.

Mary and Beverly are traiteurs who treat whatever is ailing you, such as back pain, wounds, warts, anxiety, sunstroke, etc. Traiteurs work with healing plants, occasionally “making medicine” when needed. And Mary and Beverly are dedicated….right before we began taping, they worked all morning at the Healing Garden at Vermilionville!

Pictured is La Maison du Traiteur (“The Healer’s House) at Vermilionville, surrounded by Le Jardin du Traiteur (The Healer’s Garden), sponsored by the Lafayette Parish Master Gardeners Association (LPMGA). The site is open for tourists to visit all year. Mary Perrin recommends the best time to visit is on one of the Culture Days held during the summertime where you will enjoy a guided tour. To view the complete garden guide, visit here.

Healing Traditions is a beautiful testament to our Acadian culture and the traditions that have been carried down by one generation after another. It is also a beautiful testament to the Native Americans who first arrived in South Louisiana more than a thousand years before European settlers, who had discovered “a rich diversity of plant and animal life in its bayous, prairies, and marshes….they uncovered a multitude of powerful natural curatives, plants that could stop bleeding, cure infections, relieve pain, reduce fever, stop swelling, soothe troubled minds, and more. In short, Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet was well stocked.” These generous Native Americans shared their plant curative knowledge with the Acadians’ traiteurs as they settled into their new home in South Louisiana.

According to Healing Traditions of South Louisiana, Elderberry was “revered for its medical and reputed magical qualities” and the Acadians and Native Americans considered it vital to their medical needs. It is considered to be the “queen of the Healer’s Garden.”

The book is a beautifully written account of local healing herbs and the healing touch and prayer of traiteurs. A beautiful gift to give, Discover Lafayette thanks Mary Perrin and Beverly Fuselier for the time and talent they invested to make Healing Traditions a reality!

Healing Traditions of South Louisiana is available for purchase at Beausoleil Books, Vermilionville, the Acadian Museum of Erath, Books Along the Teche, and Longfellow State Historic Site.