New Orleans: Exploring Over 300 Years of Black History

It’s no secret that New Orleans is a deeply rooted city with a long, complex history. In February, many people’s thoughts are turning towards the upcoming Mardi Gras parades and festivities. But there’s another important event happening this month. An event that offers an opportunity for exploration of some of the city’s richest culture and history.

There’s no better time to explore some of New Orleans history and the city’s culture than Black History Month.


Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

Founded in 1783, the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans is the country’s oldest black neighborhood. This was the only place in America during slavery where people of color regularly purchased homes and land. It should be no surprise, then, that many of the places listed below are located in the Tremé neighborhood.

Saint Augustine

Photo by Ted Drake

Tremé is home to another icon, Saint Augustine Catholic Church, which is the oldest Black Catholic parish in the United States. Many civil rights figures, including Homer Plessy, worshiped here.


Congo Square

Photo by Jason Riedy

Today, Congo Square is a popular site for weddings, concerts, festivals, and more inside Louis Armstrong Park. But in 1817, this was the only place where black people were allowed to congregate. City leaders and other slave owners were afraid that allowing people of color to congregate in private would lead to an insurrection.

In this open space, enslaved people would gather every Sunday to dance, play music, and even sell goods in a marketplace. These gatherings helped them to hang on to their native cultures and traditions.

Backstreet Cultural Museum

Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

If you’ve ever wondered about Mardi Gras, second line parades, jazz funerals, or other New Orleans traditions, this is the place to learn. The Backstreet Museum is home to the largest collection of African American New Orleanian processional traditions in the world.

Cafe Rose Nicaud

Rose Nicaud was the first coffee seller in New Orleans. Every Sunday, she pushed her cart through the market, selling black coffee and coffee with milk. Though she was forced to give up the majority of her profit to her enslaver, she eventually saved up enough to purchase her freedom.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

This restaurant has been in operation since 1941, and was a hot spot during the civil rights era. Thurgood Marshall, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, Reverend A.L. Davis, Oretha Castle Haley, and even Martin Luther King Jr. himself discussed protest strategy in the upstairs meeting room here.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

We’re so grateful to our friends, our families, our neighbors, and especially our readers for chipping in, sharing, and donating to the cause of local progressive media. Your support has lifted us up so much and will most assuredly not be lost or forgotten.

If you care about local independent progressive media in an era where multi-millionaires such as John Georges are monopolizing our local press, then please donate any amount you can to make our operation a success. We can do this! Do not give up.

What else can you do if you’ve already donated and can’t donate anymore? Share our content on Facebook and tell people about our fundraising operation. Call and email others who may be able to give. We believe in you because you believe in us and together we can ensure Big Easy Magazine becomes a progressive icon for New Orleans and an inspiration for the expansion of progressive media around the world.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

One thought on “New Orleans: Exploring Over 300 Years of Black History

Comments are closed.

Things to Do
Add Some Progress to Your Inbox
Big Easy Magazine sends weekly emails to keep you informed about what’s going on in our community and beyond.
We respect your privacy.