Media Contact:

Lauren Noel, The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 556-7655 |
Christopher Robert, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
(504) 620-2639 |

August 2016 | New Orleans, Louisiana - Beginning in the fall, The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will bring a portable version of THNOC's award-winning exhibition on the domestic slave trade to 10 sites in Louisiana. The initiative is presented by Entergy Corporation with additional support from the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kabacoff Family Foundation.

Based on content from THNOC's exhibition "Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865," the portable panel display will visit libraries, parks and community centers in the following Louisiana markets over the course of 16 months. Each site will host the display for approximately six weeks.

• Natchitoches: Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Nov. 1-Dec. 13, 2016
• Bunkie: City Hall, Jan. 2-Feb. 13, 2017
• Port Allen: West Baton Rouge Museum, Feb. 17-March 31, 2017
• Jonesboro: Jackson Parish Library, April 14-May 26, 2017
• Bossier City: Bossier Parish Library, June 1-July 13, 2017
• New Iberia: Bayou Teche Museum, July 17-Aug. 28, 2017
• Thibodaux: Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University, Sept. 1-Oct. 13, 2017
• New Roads: Pointe Coupee Parish Library, Oct. 17-Nov. 28, 2017
• Slidell: St. Tammany Parish Library, Dec. 1, 2016-Jan. 12, 2018
• Lake Charles: Calcasieu Parish Library, Jan. 16-Feb. 27, 2018
In addition to managing the transportation and logistics of the display, the LEH will issue grants to support programs during the tour stops and coordinate with THNOC to train staff at each host site on the content and educational aspects of the display.

Curated by THNOC Historian Erin M. Greenwald, "Purchased Lives" examines the period between America's abolishment of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which an estimated two million people were forcibly moved among the nation's states and territories. The domestic trade wreaked new havoc on the lives of enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South-Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC-sold and shipped surplus laborers to the developing Lower South-Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, which was the largest slave market in antebellum America.

The exhibition's narrative is not limited to New Orleans, however. It examines a complex and divisive period of American history, helping viewers learn about the far-reaching economic and heartbreaking personal impact of the domestic slave trade.

"‘Purchased Lives,' said Greenwald, "connects the economic narrative of American slavery to the firsthand experiences of the men, women and children whose lives were shattered by the domestic slave trade. The panel exhibition affords THNOC and the LEH the opportunity to bring this story to communities throughout the state, encouraging dialogue about the trade and its legacies."

The display will consist of 10 panels, which will allow it to travel more widely than the version containing original artifacts. The vibrant and informative design will feature reproductions of period artifacts such as broadsides, paintings and prints illustrating the domestic slave trade, as well as ship manifests, financial documents and first-person accounts conveying the trade's reach into all levels of antebellum society. Large-scale reproductions of post-Civil War "Lost Friends" ads depict the attempts of former slaves to reunite with loved ones, even as much as 50 years after the war.

"The Historic New Orleans Collection has been a steadfast partner for the LEH for many years, and they've developed an urgent, powerful exhibition on this chapter in American history," said LEH Executive Director Miranda Restovic. "We look forward to working with communities around the state to bring new audiences to our libraries and museums."

"Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865" is an exhibition by The Historic New Orleans Collection in collaboration with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. It is presented by Entergy Corporation with additional support from the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kabacoff Family Foundation.


About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. For more information, visit or call (504) 523-4662.

About the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all residents of the state. Our mission is to provide access to and an appreciation of Louisiana's rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs; family literacy and adult reading initiatives; teacher professional development institutes; publications; film and radio documentaries; museum exhibitions; public lectures; library projects; and other diverse public humanities programming. Since 1971, the LEH has been the organizational standard-bearer for historical, cultural and needs-driven, outcomes-based educational programming, across all 64 Louisiana parishes. Visit to learn more.