Historic gathering spot for enslaved people
This plaza in what is now Armstrong Park was the historic Sunday meeting place for enslaved people and free people of color. The Code Noir or Black Code that was put into place by the king of France in 1724 gave enslaved people Sunday as a day of rest. They would often use this day to play music, dance, and practice their religions. In 1763, the code was relaxed and enslaved people were allowed to buy and sell their own goods, which many did as a way to earn enough money to buy their own freedom, a practice called cortacion. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Americans made life much harder for enslaved people and free people of color. In 1817 the mayor passed an ordinance that forbade enslaved people from congregating anywhere other than Congo Square. Because they had no where else to go, come Sunday the square would be packed with people playing music, dancing, selling goods, and doing religious ceremonies, all brining the traditions of their ancestors to their activities. The blending of these sounds is thought to be how jazz got its start and the blending of religions is how New Orleans got its own unique form of Voodoo.
Vintage items by Black artists and designers
This cozy store features a curated selection of art, books, clothing, home goods and other new and vintage items by Black artists and designers. Not only is Carla the sweetest woman, she also has a clear passion for what she is doing, which shows throughout her shop. She also manages to track down some rare pieces, so comb through all her treasures carefully. When you are finished here, be sure to check out the rest of Bayou Road.
Art warehouse with powerful murals
Brandan ‘BMike’ Odums’s 35,000 square foot warehouse is packed with the artist’s mostly spray painted work that are a beautiful commentary on the world we live in. This is truly an incredible exhibition that is a must see. Keep in mind that they are only open Wednesday through Saturday, 2:00 to 8:00.
Community Book Center
African-centered books and much more
While this neighborhood hub features African-centered books, it it far more than just a bookstore. In addition to hosting storytellings and other events, it also sells African-centered art, fabric, gifts and more. If you have a little one, be sure to bring them with you because they have a great children's sections. If you are approaching the store from the left, it is impossible to miss because the entire side of the building is covered in a beautiful mural by BMike. When you are finished here, be sure to check out the rest of Bayou Road.
2523 Bayou Rd, New Orleans, LA
Community Book Center
Dooky Chase's Restaurant
Legendary restaurant from the Queen of Creole
Legendary, James Beard Award winning chef Leah Chase served Creole staples to everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Obama in her art-filled dining room. Though she passed away in 2019 at the age of 96, she never retired and could often be seen greeting guests in the dining hall or preparing her famous gumbo in the kitchen. The restaurant, which serves its lunch buffet Tuesday through Friday in addition to dinner on Friday, cooks up great versions of Creole and soul food staples. They are famous for their fried chicken and use Miss Leah's recipe to make some of the best gumbo in the city. While the Queen of Creole got her nickname from her cooking, that isn't all she is remembered for. In the 1960's Dooky Chase's became the meeting place for local civil rights activists. When Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Riders needed a secret place to hold their meetings, Dooky Chase's second floor was the place. While these meetings were technically illegal, Dooky Chase's was so popular that authorities didn't shut them down, fearing public backlash. But that didn't mean that the restaurant wasn't on the receiving end of public backlash. In 1965, a pipe bomb exploded outside the restaurant, with the interior of the building the most likely target. Mrs. Chase is remembered for her incredible food, her contribution to the civil rights movements, her support of the arts, and as being the inspiration for Tiana in The Princess and the Frog.
All Bout Dat Tours
Black Heritage and Jazz Tour
This historical and cultural tour covers everything from the forced journey Africans took to get here, to the creation of jazz, and everything in between. Mikhala tells the story of New Orleans that you need to hear.