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Juneteenth in New Orleans

Congo Square, the Whitney Plantation and more - New Orleans is filled with places and spaces perfect for commemorating Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

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. 

Image courtesy of Congo Square Preservation Society
Congo Square Drum Circle

Where can I go to commemorate Juneteenth?

Throughout New Orleans, individuals have gone through great lengths to preserve and share the stories of the 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.

Visit Congo Square

Located just outside of the French Quarter in Tremé, Congo Square was a gathering place for slaves 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.   

Spend the Day at the Whitney Plantation

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. 

Tour the French Quarter with the New Orleans Slave Trade Marker App 

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.

Shop Bayou Road

Nestled right off Esplanade Ridge in Tremé, Bayou Road is the oldest road in New Orleans and serves 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. 

Visit Studio BE

Open 2-8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 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 will be available for purchase in his on-site shop. Book online here.  

Browse the Amistad Research Center

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. 

Paul Broussard
Amistad Research Center

Special 2021 Juneteenth Celebrations

New Orleans African American Museum’s Juneteenth Celebration

Support Black artists, farmers and vendors at the African American Museum’s monthly arts market. The market will be held on Saturday, June 19 (Juneteenth) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both inside the museum and outdoors on museum grounds. The event is family friendly and free to attend. 

Dakar Nola’s Chef Celebration of Juneteenth

Every Tuesday in June, Dakar Nola will hold a pop-up dinner featuring a rotation of chefs in celebration of Juneteenth. The prix-fixe five-course tasting menu will highlight creations from some of the best chefs in the city, including Senegalese and Creole flavors. Check here for tickets and more information.

The Chase Family Foundation Juneteenth Celebration

Celebrate Juneteenth at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. Throughout the decades, the restaurant has been a mainstay in the African American community, serving locals, tourists and presidents all the same. The Chase Family Foundation celebrates Juneteenth with a five-course, formal, sit-down dinner, spoken word and live musical performances on Saturday, June 19. Purchase tickets here.

A Taste of the East

Check out this inaugural pop-up event over Juneteenth weekend featuring food, music, shopping and more. Come to 9701 Lake Forest Blvd. #103 on Friday, June 18 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to join the festival and support economic development in New Orleans East.

The Juneteenth New Orleans Celebration & Market 

Attend an arts market and live music event courtesy of The Juneteenth New Orleans Celebration & Market. On Juneteenth, head to Vybes Nation at 1681 Religious St. from 3-8 p.m. for a celebration hosted by Tonya Boyd-Cannon and performances from DJ Raj Smoove, DJ Captain Charles, Congo Nation with special guest Big Chief Donald Harrison, spoken word artists Nique'o, Tiffny "POETIC SHORTEE" Harris and Sporty's Brass Band. Black-owned food and product vendors will also be in attendance. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.  

New Orleans Juneteenth Festival

Celebrate Juneteenth all weekend long at NOLA Juneteenth Festival. From June 18-20, a variety of events will take place, including a book reading and film screening at the Tremé Center on Friday, a free festival in Armstrong Park on Saturday and a freedom gala on Sunday. For more information, see here

Juneteenth Blood Drive for Sickle Cell Awareness Day

Give back this Juneteenth by giving blood. Son of a Saint will team up with Ochsner Blood Bank on Juneteenth to host a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2541 Bayou Road. The day also happens to be World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, raising awareness for a disease that affects Black Americans at much higher rates than people of other ethnicities. Sign up to donate here

Honoring Juneteenth at NOMA

Commemorate Juneteenth with special programming at NOMA. Participate in family-friendly art activities, experience a moving dance performance co-presented by Edward Spots and Magnolia Dance & Company, view a photographic banner created by students at New Harmony High School and delve into online programming. All events and activities are free. To reserve your free ticket for admission to NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, click here

Rebecca Todd, NOTMC
Ashe Cultural Arts Center

Black-Owned Businesses to Support on Juneteenth and Beyond

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.