ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (March 4, 2013)--The skeleton-saint known as La Santa Muerte has found a robust and diverse following in the U.S. in recent years.
Popular in Mexico, and sometimes linked to the illicit drug trade, Saint Death is gaining devotees among immigrant small business owners, artists, gay activists and the poor, many of whom are non-Latinos and aren't involved with organized religion.
Andrew Chesnut, author of "Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint," said the folk saint is gaining in popularity because devotees can ask her for anything, from fending off wrongdoing and carrying out vengeance.
A follower in New Orleans has built a public shrine in the folk saint’s honor, and transgender woman in Queens, N.Y., built an altar in her apartment.
She hosts an annual La Santa Muerte festival.