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Celebrating Black History Month in New Orleans: Things to Do

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As February unfolds, New Orleans takes center stage in honoring Black History Month with a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, museums, landmarks, and culinary delights that celebrate the city’s African American heritage. Delve into the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant history and embrace the following recommendations to make the most of this special month!

Celebrating Heritage: Black History Museums in New Orleans 

Mural of a girl on the side of Studio BE in New Orleans
Source: neworleans.com

In the dynamic landscape of New Orleans, museums play a vital role in preserving the diverse history that defines the African American experience. As we celebrate Black History Month, these cultural institutions become gateways to untold stories, offering a profound journey through time. Black History Month magnifies the importance of these museums, turning them into living commemorations that invite visitors to explore the intricate threads of the past. 

Louisiana Civil Rights Museum 

Embark on a historic journey at the Louisiana Civil Rights Museum, a testament to 30 years of dedication to preserving the state’s civil rights history. Initiated by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the museum stands as a tribute to the courage and determination of those who fought for change. Explore the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail through the museum, website, and trail markers scattered across the state. 

The McKenna Museum + Le Musée de f.p.c. 

Discover African American artwork at the George and Leah McKenna Museum, which houses an impressive collection in an intimate, boutique-style space. Adjacent to it, Le Musée de f.p.c. serves as a house museum dedicated to the legacy of free people of color. 

Studio BE 

Immerse yourself in the powerful visual art at Studio BE, the brainchild of local artist Brandan “B-mike” Odums. This warehouse installation offers a profound exploration of Blackness on both local and national levels. Beyond the art, Studio BE hosts Black business markets and Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the year. 

New Orleans African American Museum 

In 2019, following a six-year hiatus and an extensive $2 million revitalization, the New Orleans African American Museum triumphantly reopened its doors. Devoted to safeguarding, conserving, and celebrating the rich tapestry of African American history, art, and communities in both the city and the wider African diaspora, the museum stands as a testament to cultural resilience and empowerment.

Embracing Heritage: Living Chapters of African American History in New Orleans

Musicians' Mural at Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard for Celebrating Black History Month
Photographer: Will Coviello

In the heart of New Orleans, landmarks weave a narrative that speaks to the profound history and enduring spirit of the African American community. As Black History Month unfolds, these iconic sites emerge as living chapters, inviting exploration into the city’s dynamic past. Beyond mere physical structures, these landmarks embody cultural significance and serve as powerful symbols of resilience, triumphs, and contributions. To fully engage with the profound stories encapsulated by these landmarks, consider venturing out to explore some of the many noteworthy sites listed here. 

Tremé 

Stroll through Tremé, the oldest African American neighborhood in the U.S., and witness centuries of history. Explore St. Augustine Church, the oldest African American Catholic church in New Orleans, and experience the cultural richness of Congo Square in Armstrong Park.

Central City 

Formerly a hub for the Civil Rights Movement, Central City now thrives as a center for second-line parades, Mardi Gras Indians, and emerging Black entrepreneurs. Don’t miss the vibrant murals along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

Bayou Road 

Discover a wealth of Black-owned businesses on Bayou Road in Esplanade Ridge. Spend a day exploring shops, restaurants, clubs, and more, soaking in the unique offerings of this vibrant community. 

Savoring Legacy: Black-Owned Restaurants in New Orleans 

Front entrance of Daker NOLA restaurant
Source: nola.eater.com

In the culinary haven of New Orleans, a city that boasts phenomenal Black chefs and legendary cuisine, the celebration of Black History Month extends to the dining table. Here’s a shortlist of must-try, Black-owned restaurants that embody the rich tapestry of flavors, history, and pride that define the city’s culinary landscape. As you savor each dish, you’re not just indulging in exquisite flavors; you’re partaking in a celebration of the diverse and enduring contributions of the African American community to New Orleans’ culinary legacy. 

Dooky Chase's Restaurant 

Indulge in delicious Creole cuisine at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, a historic establishment that played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement. Chef Leah Chase’s legacy lives on, serving award-winning cuisine at its original location, 2301 Orleans Avenue.

The Munch Factory 

The Munch Factory in New Orleans, owned by chefs Jordan and Alexis Ruiz, is a beloved culinary destination renowned for its exceptional Creole dishes. The familial atmosphere sets the stage for a delightful dining experience where patrons can savor famous Creole favorites. This restaurant’s popularity extends beyond locals, attracting celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, underscoring its reputation for serving top-notch Creole cuisine.

Lil' Dizzy's Cafe 

With a history stretching back nearly 75 years, Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe is a beloved New Orleans institution, serving heartwarming Creole dishes like gumbo, fried chicken, and red beans and rice. This family favorite remains a testament to the city’s culinary heritage, offering an authentic taste of New Orleans in every bite. 

Dakar NOLA 

For an elevated dining experience featuring Senegalese cuisine, head to Dakar NOLA on Magazine Street. Chef Serigne Mbaye’s establishment offers a family-style dinner with multiple courses, promising culinary excellence and great company. 

Keep the Fun Going with a Garden District Tour

While exploring the historic sites and vibrant neighborhoods of New Orleans during Black History Month, consider delving into the allure of the Garden District. Discover why this iconic neighborhood has not only attracted Hollywood stars but also captivated the imagination of millions of visitors from around the world.

Join expert guides on a New Orleans Garden District Tour, where each step unveils historical anecdotes and celebrity insights, offering a unique fusion of culture and luxury. The grand mansions and tree-lined streets create a captivating backdrop, revealing why this tour is a must for both tourists and celebrities alike, drawing them year after year to the timeless charm of the Garden District. Elevate your New Orleans experience with a journey that transcends the ordinary, weaving together history, culture, and the allure of celebrity in this unique district!

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
French Quarter Tour  |  Garden District Tour  New Orleans Ghost Tour  |  New Orleans Cocktail Tour

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