The project was based on the ride concept for a dark ride/ boat attraction called, "Voodoo Escape" created by fellow SCAD student (now Alumnus), Will Barnett (https://www.will-barnett.com/new-page-5). This assignment specifically relied on an understanding of the Louisiana (New Orleans) Voodoo culture and its history and origins. Completing extensive research proved enlightening and informed much of my backstory and design. I have incorporated the plantation manor and live oak walkway of the Oak Alley Plantation property as my main building, as well as out buildings (enslaved peoples' living quarters and groundskeepers cottages) from other antebellum and reconstruction era properties.
I began my process with the attraction poster using Procreate for iPad and eventually Adobe Illustrator. For my Backstory's coordinating graphics, I used Photoshop then Illustrator. For my Standby and Preshow Queue Concepts, as well as my Marquee Concept, I began with traditional media of pencil on paper, then created an overlay of ink on Vellum. I finished all designs in Photoshop. The Queue Site Plan was begun using watercolour on cold-press Arches paper, then scanned and finished in Photoshop.
My Backstory and Copy
On a cold, early January night in 1811, Maman Dominique, a voodoo priestess and the rising queen of the Orleans territory, prepared her strongest spell yet. As the enslaved peoples from all over Louisiana and the surrounding area began preparations, the slavers on the German Coast laid in their mansions, blissfully unaware that the men, women, and children in their possession were to converge on Oak Alley Plantation. This was their window of opportunity because of the absence of its master and his family during their travels to France for the Winter Holidays. These newly escaped people would all call the new place, Kenbe Deyo, or “Hold Out”. Maman Dominque smiled to herself at the brilliance of it all. She didn’t need an underground railroad to help these people escape, she could obscure the property entirely, making it seem as though nothing was there at all. Anyone coming near the property would have the irresistible, sudden urge to leave. No one would be the wiser. Her people could live in peace and prosperity, free to thrive. It was almost time.
Just a few more things were needed for everything to be perfect. What none of them knew was that the Army had gotten word of this exodus, and thinking it would be an uprising, they were dispatched to the property. As runaway slave families and friends met each other on the outer boundaries of the plantation grounds and traipsed through the tree-lined walkways, the army readied themselves for what they thought would be a war. It was then that Maman Dominique walked onto the wide, upper porch and started her prayers. The spirits heard her cries and began to help set the spell in motion. But they weren’t the only ones to hear her. The nearby soldiers also heard the wailing. Not understanding what was happening, the frightened soldiers began shooting into the wooded areas, trying to drive the escaped slaves out into the open. At the height of the commotion, an errant bullet pierced Maman Dominique’s leg. She crumpled to the floor, and continued trying to finish her spell. A man from the plantation came to her aid, and while he was trying to help her back into the house, another bullet ripped through them both. At this moment, the entire property went silent.
No earthly sound could be heard for several minutes, even after the gunfire stopped. The screams of the Maman Dominique had rattled the core of the entire platoon, including the commander. When they regained their composure, the soldiers began searching the property, to try to find someone to hold accountable for these events, but all of the slaves had vanished. Maman Dominique was gone, too. The only humans remaining on the property were the soldiers, and that was scarier than before with all the screaming. Deafening silence.
Maman Dominique’s spell had worked, but not in the way she had hoped. All of the escaped people had found themselves obscured, just not whilst remaining in the earthly realm. They were trapped between this world and the next, shadows of themselves. Forever.
Until today, when earthly visitors graced the grounds for the first time in over 200 years.