• Written by Katy Reckdahl
  • Audio by Eve Abrams
  • Photos by Cheryl Gerber


St Augustine Church

1210 Governor Nicholls St

Although First African Baptist Church in Central City is older, St Augustine is the most famous African American church in the city. Perhaps partly because it has never been totally African American. When the church was founded by free people of color in 1842, pews went on sale for families that wanted to reserve them. A bidding race emerged between black and white families, a race the black families won by around three to one.

The free people donated extra pews to slaves, but the white families never gave up their seats, and thus the church was integrated, if essentially by accident. Today this active congregation is heavily involved in community improvement activities in the Treme and greater New Orleans.

Tomb of the Unknown Slave

1210 Governor Nicholls St (between Gov Nicholl Sts and Treme St)

One of the more powerful memorials in the city, the Tomb of the Unknown Slave is a moving tribute to the victims of the African diaspora. Located on the grounds of St Augustine Church, the tomb is marked by a cross fashioned from chains- an elegiac reminder of the conditions Africans were brought to the country in, but also a testament to hope and faith in the face of that violent history.

New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History

1418 Governor Nicholls St

Currently undergoing a renovation, NOAAM is a comprehensive look into the art, culture and folkways of the city’s African American population.


Willie Mae’s Scotch House

2401 St Ann St
10am-5pm, closed Sun

Folks come from all over the world for Willie Mae’s fried chicken, and we can’t blame them, but it is funny to see the license plates from California to Quebec lined up outside this little white shack (which is surprisingly roomy and elegant on the inside). Anyways, we’re happy the folks line up here, because Willie Mae’s was almost destroyed by Katrina, but a community effort resurrected the restaurant, which now serves plates and plates of what the folks at James Beard have called the best fried chicken in the world.

Dooky Chase

2301 Orleans
11am-3pm Tue-Fri, 5-9pm Fri

It’s not a stretch to say Dooky Chase is the most famous soul food joint in Louisiana. It’s not just that the food is good (although trust us: the food is excellent, and the lunch buffet deal is an absolute steal). Dooky Chase also happened to be an informal headquarters for activists during the Civil Rights movement, so this restaurant is as important to the history of New Orleans as it is to the culinary heritage.

Speaking of culinary heritage, perhaps the most quintessential vegetarian dish in the city is Leah Chase’s gumo z’herbes, a meatless version of the soup made from several types of greens, served during lent to observant Catholics. Dooky Chase was another restaurant that was almost destroyed by Katrina, and resurrected by a coordinated community effort to raise funds for fixing the place back up.

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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