Give your family a renewed appreciation for the contribution of African Americans to New Orleans with a visit to the historic Tremé this February (Black History Month).
Before the Civil War, the Tremé, the oldest African-American neighborhood in America, was home to more free people of color than any other area. Jazz was born and grew up here. Mardi Gras Indians sew and display their magnificent suits here. And Civil Rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall strategized here at Dooky Chase’s, one of the few restaurants that served both blacks and whites during the Jim Crow era.
Experience Armstrong Park, named for jazz legend Louis Armstrong, perhaps the most famous New Orleanian of all time. There you'll visit hallowed ground, Congo Square, where enslaved people and free people of color were allowed to gather for drumming and chanting on Sundays before the Civil War.
Outside St. Augustine Church, founded in 1841, you can stand before the grave of the Unknown Slave. With its chains and shackles, it’s quite a moving experience. Famous parishioners of the church have included civil rights activist Homer Plessy, jazz great Sidney Bechet, civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud, and Mardi Gras Indian “Chief of Chiefs” Allison “Tootie” Montana.
While you're in the area, visit to Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum where you can view archival photographs, vintage instruments, art depicting the city’s musical history, old Jazz Fest posters and more.
History comes alive in New Orleans. Take your kids on a field trip they'll never forget.