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Congo Square
Congo Square
Congo Square

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 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 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.   

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 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. 

Visit Studio BE

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. 

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. 

Learn about New Orleans’ Black history with All Bout Dat Tours 

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. 

Visit the New Orleans African American Museum 

See what’s on view at the New Orleans African American Museum, dedicated to showcasing the works of Black artists. Each third Saturday, they host Saturdays at NOAAM, which features free museum admission and live entertainment.

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. Check out our Self-Guided Black-owned Food and Drink Tour here. 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.