“We’re the ones in the candle-lit rooms, bones on skulls, cries to the sky.
The invisibles see us, and they come when called, our friends and allies.
The forgotten rise to our call, and the shamblers dance to our drums.
We’re the Hounsi. Can you hear our beat?”
The Hounsi are one of the oldest known gangs in the Ward, having held onto a number of territories over the years all across New Orleans. Considered more of a cultist group than true raiders, they still ascribe to a raider-like lifestyle in many aspects. The Hounsi are known to be hedonistic and brutal, having taken various aspects of ancient Vodou beliefs and Catholic tradition and bastardizing them into a twisted and wicked cult-like belief system.
While the Hounsi are seen as raiders and cultists, they’re more open to outsiders, even inviting wanderers and travelers into their territory to partake in their carnal offerings, including chems, homemade moonshines, and pleasures of the flesh. This of course, is a front utilized to find new recruits and sacrifices. The Hounsi believe that true freedom is found through pain and pleasure, and those they deem worthy may join their ranks if they can prove their willingness to partake in their various rituals and ascribe to their beliefs, which are as follows:
- All members of the Hounsi are to wear colorful masks that hide their true face, believing that freedom can only be achieved when one releases their identity. No Hounsi is allowed to remove their mask once acquired.
- All members of the Hounsi are to partake in celebration and pleasures of the mind and body for six days, with the seventh day reserved for repentance through pain and sacrifice.
- All members of the Hounsi are to revere the Bokar as the true leader of the Hounsi with offerings and gifts during their greatest, week long celebration at the end of each month, known as Mardi Gras.
Those travelers and wanderers that have been swept up into the Hounsi celebrations have two fates waiting for them: Death or membership. Those deemed worthy are granted the chance to join them as a fellow brother or sister of the Hounsi and given the right to create a mask if they accept. Those that are deemed unworthy, or refuse the great honor of joining their ranks are offered up instead as a sacrifice to the Bokar and the Loa, a way for the Hounsi to appease the spirits and continue their eternal celebrations unhindered.
The Hounsi have their origins in the old Vodou Hounfour temples of New Orleans, both legitimate and those ran by hucksters who took tourists for their cash. Vodou was a new-world faith based on old world Yoruba traditions blended with the Catholicism and Christianity of the slave owners who tried their damnedest to stamp out old tribal traditions– but never really could.
Vodou traditions remained mostly quiet through the 1700’s and early 1800’s until one of the first Voodoo Queens became known for her power, wisdom and influence– Marie Laveau. She caused a resurgence in Louisiana of the old traditions that had been kept behind closed doors and in shadowed slave quarters. Voodoo, as it came to be ‘Americanized’ became a thing of interest to the descendants of slaves, as well as the white folk who came to Marie for gris-gris bags and sorceries. By the time that Marie Laveau died, Vodou was firmly, and irrevocably embedded in the pop-culture and myth of America– as American as apple pie– as American as slavery.
Flash forwards into the 2070’s, and Vodou is still going strong in the American South, with hucksters and scam artists selling miracle cures, gris-gris bags, hexes and curses and false initiations into the mysteries of Vodou to the white man, while a small corps of legitimate Hounfours remain working the legitimate faith and practices of the tradition in private homes and temples. However, when the bombs fell, the Voudouisants– false and real– found that everyone needed someone to blame, and they became a target for sources of outrage and attacks by those who lost people, property, and themselves to the ravages of the war.
Despite the prevalence of false Voodoo shops in New Orleans, the legitimate Vodouisants gathered together beneath a Mambo (priestess) by the name of Mama Sedye, famed for her wisdom and powers, and she publicly decreed that all who were targeted for their membership in the faith, false or true, were of her house, and were Hounsi– which became both the name for those who cloistered to her, and the organization after she passed away. Mama Sedye became a Voodoo Queen like the world hadn’t seen for centuries, and she saw to the survival of the people, as their ancestors had during the slavery era.
Initially, the Hounsi were merely outcasts within the Ward, who attempted to build up their organization with exiles and the lost of society, taking in the desperate and the lost. However, by the end of Mama Sedye’s life, the organization had become bent, as Hounfour by Hounfour the homes and sanctuaries they would build would become targeted by both local gangs that would become the Consilium, and a group of soldiers known, then, as the Saints.
On her death bed, Mama Sedye gave her title to a savage and angry woman who had been one of her bodyguards and student practitioners, Delivrans Thibaut, who took the Hounsi in a different direction, becoming vengeful and domineering. She sought out mysteries and made deals with the spirits and Loa for powers that had not been seen in centuries, and when she returned from the swamp, she held the secret of controlling the mindless and shambling– the feral ghouls.
The Hounsi amassed a small army of ferals, to control and hold their territory, and for nearly two centuries they did battle with the Consilium gangs to take control of the Ward, as Voodoo Queens came and went, each expanding the lore of the Hounsi more and more, until in 2260, when a new Voodoo Queen took power, and claimed to have been visited by the Loa Ezrulie Dantor, who had given her direction, to serve as her horse– or possessed avatar.
The Queen took on the appearance and affectation of the Loa, and began to lead her forces into battle against the rival gangs with ferocity. The Hounsi re-structured themselves beneath a number of Hounfour-specific gangs, who spread out to take control of vast swaths of the city, becoming murderous, savage, and brutal. The Hounsi took in a vast number of people who carried agendas of lust and violence into their hearts, and it changed the direction of the gang as a whole.
However, the Hounsi’s expanse came to a head as the Saints took in numbers just as large, from those who had lost homes and loved ones to Hounsi violence. The Saints pushed back, and in a week long battle of house to house and block to block warfare, the Hounsi were cut down to just one small block in the Ward, unable to dislodge themselves. The Voodoo Queen was cut down by the Saints and it took some time until a new one would arrive.
Currently, the Hounsi are still cornered in the Ward, and have partnered with their old enemies the Consilium to gain power, reclaim their territory, and wipe out the Saints– now known as the Wardens– for good.
Leader: Invention Gearz
- Location: The Ward
- Services: Moonshine, Chems, Partying, Death or Eternal Celebration.
- Controlling Interest: Vodou Ferals