Each year in mid-June, communities across the U.S. celebrate Juneteenth–a commemoration of the abolition of slavery in America. In New Orleans, enjoy visiting historic sites or stopping by a special Juneteenth celebration. Here’s how to commemorate Juneteenth in New Orleans.
Throughout New Orleans, individuals have gone through great lengths to preserve and share the stories of countless enslaved African men, women, and children. There are a number of places where visitors can learn more about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, New Orleans’ connection to it, and the narratives of the brave individuals who fought against it.
Located just outside of the French Quarter in Tremé, Congo Square was a gathering place for the enslaved and free people of color throughout the 19th century, used for meetings, open markets, and celebrations of African culture, particularly music. Today, the square is home to various festivals throughout the year but can be visited at any time for an enriching experience. Visit Congo Square and you’ll find sculptures, historical markers for learning more, and the greenspace of adjacent Armstrong Park.
Located roughly 45 minutes outside of metro New Orleans, a visit to the Whitney Plantation is well worth the trip. This is the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a direct focus on slavery. The tour is told from the perspective of enslaved Africans who lived and worked here in Louisiana.
Historic avenues, public parks, and even narrow streams and rivers have a deep history behind them. Download the official New Orleans Slave Trade Marker here and begin a personal in-app audio tour of some of New Orleans’ most historic sites connected to the slave trade.
Nestled right off Esplanade Ridge in Tremé, Bayou Road is the oldest road in New Orleans and serves as a hub for Black-owned businesses. Currently, Community Book Center, which focuses on African books, art, and music, is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit Bayou Road for dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Open 2-8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 2-6 p.m. on Sundays, Studio BE is the brainchild of New Orleans artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, whose work focuses on the Black community and the unsung heroes of New Orleans. Visit the gallery for a self-guided tour. Prints, t-shirts, and collectibles are available for purchase in his on-site shop. Book online here.
Dedicated to sharing stories referencing the social & cultural importance of America's ethnic & racial history, the African Diaspora, and civil rights, the work of Amistad Research Center is accessible both at the museum and online, with digital archives (including articles and video interviews) available on Amistad’s website and Facebook page.
Offering Black heritage and jazz tours of New Orleans that take you off the beaten path, Mikhala Iversen's All Bout Dat tours are some of the best in the city. Tour sites include historic Congo Square, where enslaved Africans gathered for song and dance on Sundays, the Tremé neighborhood, known as the oldest African American neighborhood in the U.S., and Bayou Road, where Black-owned businesses thrive. Don't miss your chance to take an All Bout Dat Tour while in New Orleans.
The New Orleans African American Museum is great to visit on any day, but Juneteenth weekend will feature their Monthly Art Market with Black vendors. Support the artist community and receive free museum admission to browse the exhibits on view on Saturday, June 18.
New Orleans is a hub for culture, which includes a diverse mix of restaurants, shops, and businesses throughout the city. Support Black-owned businesses the next time you’re in need of a good meal with our Black-owned restaurants list. Shop the art, clothing, and books of Black-owned shops here. Explore the attractions, accommodations, and nightlife of Black-owned businesses throughout the city.
There are many more places and resources to visit to learn more about the slave trade and commemorate Juneteenth. Visit our history page for more inspiration.