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Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival

  • 701 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
  • 701 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
  • 701 N. Rampart Street
    New Orleans, LA 70116
ABOUT:

The Festival

Head over to Louis Armstrong Park for the 12th annual Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival, Saturday, November 16th - Sunday, November 17th. This year, the festival will combine forces with the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival for one exciting event. 

Presented by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, this annual festival celebrates the historic Congo Square that remains in Treme until this very day with music, dance, food and fun for all ages. Shop for local and handmade goods amoungst the two art markets. The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival celebrates the Treme neighborhood and New Orleans iconic dish, gumbo.

Admission to the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival is free - donations are appreciated. 

Music + Competitions 

As always, attendees can expect performances by local African dance troupes and the finest local bands. Two stages of live music will feature jazz, funk, brand bands, gospel and blues. They also will have a Mardi Gras Indian battle of the tribes.

Past years festivals have included performances by the Fufu Allstars, The Rebirth Brass Band, Bamboula 2000 and many more. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup. 

History

In the years before enslaved Africans were liberated, their owners in New Orleans would give them a "day off" from their free labor on Sundays. They would gather in Congo Square, located in Treme, the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States. It is in Congo Square where these slaves would sing, dance, and create drum rhythms in keeping with their ancestral African heritage.

 These African rhythms, along with other musical influences in New Orleans, eventually filtered into what the Crescent City is most known for - jazz music.

Today, that colorful African heritage is celebrated in the same locale, in Congo Square, which is now a section of Louis Armstrong Park. The festival began in 2007 and is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Foundation's Tom Dent Congo Square Symposium.

The late Tom Dent, for whom the symposium was named, was a noted New Orleans writer, folklorist and civil rights activist.

This free festival celebrates the historic role of Congo Square as the birthplace of American music. The Tom Dent Symposiums feature panel discussions in topics relating-the mixture of world cultures that took place at Congo Square, resulting in the development of jazz and, by extension, all of American music.

The Organization

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. was established in 1970 with a mission-sow the seeds of our unique culture for generations-come. As the nonprofit owner of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival -- Jazz Fest -- the foundation works all year long-promote and develop the culture of New Orleans and the surrounding region. Their areas of focus are education, economic development and culture.

Distance From Key Locations
  • Convention Center:
  • SuperDome/Arena:
  • Airport:
  • French Quarter:
What's Nearby
Location
Louis Armstrong Park

Just steps from the French Quarter sits this public park that honors the jazz great Louis Armstrong. Look for the iconic, arched entrance"”inside you'll find sites like Congo Square (a historic meeting place for...