Two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people are freed. This day became known as Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth. Juneteenth honors the end of Slavery in the United States and became an official federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
Of course we were excited about the news and packed up for a road trip to New Orleans to celebrate!
Why New Orleans? First, we didn't want a road trip over 6 hours. Second, New Orleans is filled with rich African American culture and history.
Where did we stay?
We choose to stay in the Treme /Lafitte neighborhood because of its rich African American history and culture. Treme is known for its jazz, soul food and cultural centers that celebrate African American and Creole heritage. We rented a very nice upstairs two bedroom apartment on VRBO.
What did we do?
From our apartment we walked to the New Orleans African American Museum, NOAAM, for their Juneteenth Celebration. Unfortunately it was cancelled due to a tropical storm warning but that didn't stop us. Fortunately for us we had several Juneteenth events on our agenda. We walked a few more blocks to Armstrong Park in Congo Square where we enjoyed guest speakers and good music!
Free Walking Tours
After a bit of research we signed up for two FREE walking tours online with Free Tours by Foot.
In NOLA, this company offers name your own price walking tours, including voodoo, ghost, cemetery and tours. While there is a $2.50 charge per person, to reserve your spot online, the tours themselves, are free in a sense meaning that you pay what you feel the tour is worth of what you can afford - even free.
We registered for the Voodoo and Ghost tours which were both culturally informative and entertaining. The Voodoo tour begins under an beautifuly aged tree with an in depth history lesson on West African culture and religion. It digs deep into the misrepresentation and Hollywood depictions. The tour also includes a look into modern day temples in the French Quarters and ends with a stop inside a Voodoo temple.
The Ghost tour began 7pm in the evening just at dawn to add a bit of spook. We were taken to some spooky places where our guide told tales about the dark, haunted history of NOLA.
Where did we eat?
We fell in love with Oceana Grill which is located in the heart of New Orleans at the corner of Bourbon and Conti Street. We all LOVED the food soooo much that we dined there times during our stay in New Orleans.
Our favorite dishes were the fried alligator bites, Cajun fries and crab cakes. The fried alligator bites were served with Remoulade sauce. The Cajun fries were topped with crawfish, a delicious mushroom sauce and cheddar cheese. The Louisiana Crab cakes is also served topped with the crawfish mushroom sauce. It is deniable the best crab cake I've EVER had!
You can't go to New Orleans and not have beignets! We enjoyed beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Cafe Du Monde is the original French market coffee stand, serving cafe au lait and hot beignets (French doughnuts) 24 hours a day, year round. This landmark has been located in the French Market since the early 1960s.
Cafe Du Monde
Because our family consists of a preteen and 2 teenagers, we now incorporate researching and visiting colleges and universities during our travels. We visited the campus of Xavier University which is a private historically black, Catholic university in New Orleans. Although Xavier is relatively small with less than 3300 students, it is known as a leader in STEM and health sciences fields. Xavier has more African American medical school graduates than any other university in the United States!