Celebrating the long heritage of what is known as the oldest neighborhood of free African Americans in the United States, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation will host the annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival March 25-27. In 2019, the event merged with the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, blending the best of the two festivals into this one-of-a-kind event.
The Congo Square Rhythms Festival celebrates New Orleans traditions that stem from the African diaspora. Notably, the festival occurs in Congo Square, the location in New Orleans where enslaved Africans and free people of color gathered on Sundays and continued their traditions of song, dance, and drumming.
Commonly considered the birthplace of Jazz, in the Faubourg Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, you can both hear and feel the heartbeat of the city through the music. The highlight of the festival, in addition to the gumbo, is its traditional New Orleans jazz performances by renowned artists, many of whom grew up in the historic Tremé neighborhood.
There will be two stages celebrating New Orleans traditions that come from the African diaspora: jazz, funk, brass bands, gospel, and blues. The Congo Square Rhythms Festival wouldn't be complete without African drumming and dance and the annual Mardi Gras Indian battle of the tribes. Between sets, attendees can browse the Arts Market for some colorful, uniquely creative hand-made crafts. You can also continue the celebrations through the evening with the Brass Menagerie second-line parade!
In addition to the music, you'll discover some of the best gumbo cooking to be found in the southern Louisiana region. Representing the cultural mix of New Orleans, gumbo is a signature dish at many of the city's great restaurants, several of which always maintain a presence at the festival. From dark roux chicken and sausage gumbo, Creole filé gumbo, seafood gumbo, and even vegan gumbo, the festival will feature something for everyone. There will even be a gumbo cook-off and several cooking demonstrations by local chefs! Other creole dishes and New Orleans favorites will be served as well, celebrating the rich culinary traditions of New Orleans' African, Afro-Caribbean, and African-American communities.
In addition to tons of local foods and amazing music, you’ll also find an Arts Market filled with a variety of goods to view and purchase, and kids’ activities. Two art markets will be full of locally produced goods and unique handmade items.
The festival will be held in Congo Square in the corner of Louis Armstrong Park, as well as in other sections of the park on North Rampart Street between St. Peter and St. Philip streets, directly opposite of the French Quarter and within easy walking distance from anywhere in the neighborhood.
For more information about the festival, visit the festival’s website.
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...