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Across Louisiana: Juneteenth celebrations combine festivals and award ceremonies
Events are planned throughout Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, the Delta, Monroe, Lafayette, and Franklin
Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Juneteenth celebrates freedom while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.
Here’s a listing of state-wide activities scheduled for this year’s celebration. (Feel free to add more events in the comments below)
Ponchatoula: Taste of Soul
Enjoy African American culture and cuisine at the Taste of Soul, Friday, June 17, 6pm-9pm at Rucker’s House of Soul, 140 N. Baronne Street.
Baton Rouge: Concerts, Father’s Day Giveaways, Caravans, STEM Fest, and Unity Festival
Father's Day Giveaway Friday, June 17, noon-2 p.m. 11353 Greenwell Springs Rd., Suite A5, hosted by The Resistance
18th Annual Terral Jackson, Sr. Ole’ Skool Variety Greek Show, Friday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at F.G. Clark Activity Center, hosted by the National Pan-Hellenic Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Meet DJ Marquis, Tony King, Cassie Cole, TJ Jackson, and all of the Divine 9 fraternities and sororities at the Southern University F.G. Clark Activity Center for a night showcasing the legacy and impact of Black Greek Letter Organizations in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $20 online www.18thannualoleskoolgreekshow.eventbrite.com. Children ages 4 and under are admitted free.
Unity Fest, a family picnic-style event, jam-packed with live performances, music, food, and fitness activities. Entertainment includes bands “Universal Language” and “Esco Soul Music” along with DJ Kicks and DJ Marquis. Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Galvez Plaza, Downtown. There will also be panel discussions at the River Center Branch Library Downtown with topics like economic empowerment, mental health, and public safety.
Juneteenth Unity Caravan with Baton Rouge African American Museum, CADAV, and Representative C. Denise Marcelle. Saturday, June 18, 9:30am-noon. The Unity Caravan departs downtown from the Unity Fest and moves through South Baton Rouge to the Gus Young Festival.
Gus Young Jueteenth Festival with State Representative C. Denise Marcelle, Saturday, June 18, noon-4pm at Gus Young Park
Fathers on a Mission 5th Annual Celebration of Fatherhood: STEM Fest Saturday, June 18, 10am-1pm at Forest Community Park 13900 South Harrell's Ferry Road.
The Experience by EG | Event Planning has partnered with Vegan Friendly Foods and Friendly Vegan Foundation for a JUNETEENTH EXPERIENCE, Sunday, June 19, 4pm-8pm, Vegan Friendly Foods, 4698 Bennington St. Baton Rouge. This will be a celebration of BLACK EXCELLENCE that includes a pop up shop with Black-owned vendors, family fun, live entertainment and so much MORE.
Lafayette: Job fair, Sickle Cell walk, seminars, gospel concert, Miss Juneteenth, and ‘ The Juneteenth Story’
The SWLA Juneteenth Committee's mission is to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States by celebrating the joys of liberty, educating the community about African American heritage, and by promoting positive cultural interaction. The celebration begins mid week and ends June 22.
June 14, 10:30am Mayor-President’s Juneteenth Proclamation, Atrium at Lafayette City-Parish Hall
June 15, 6pm Juneteenth Housing Seminar, via Zoom; 40 Acres & a Mule
June 17, 10am–1pm; Juneteenth Job Fair, Clifton Chenier Center, 220 W. Willow St., Lafayette
June 17, 6pm; Juneteenth Commemoration; 735 Jefferson St., Lafayette
June 18, 7:20am Juneteenth Sickle Cell Anemia Walk; Lafayette
June 18, 9am–9pm; SWLA Opening Ceremony & Juneteenth Festival-2700 LA Ave., Lafayette
June 19, 1pm; Gospel on the Lawn; 2700 Louisiana Ave, Lafayette, La
June 19, 3pm; True Friends of La Pointe, True Friends Hall; St. Martinville, La.
June 22, 2pm and 7pm; The Juneteenth Story, Acadiana Center for the Arts; 101 W. Vermilion St. Lafayette
Donaldsonville: GU272 exhibit
GU272 and Ascension Parish: The Jesuit and Episcopal Connection to Slavery exhibit in thr Episcopal Church of Ascension, June 18, 10am-2pm 518 Nicholls Street, Donaldsonville.
This exhibit tells the compelling story of the GU272, a group of enslaved people purchased and trafficked by the Jesuits of Georgetown University in Maryland to Dr. Jesse Batey and Henry S. Johnson, sugarcane planters in Louisiana. The Episcopal Church of Ascension was selected as the location for this exhibit because the church was co-founded by Governor Henry S. Johnson who practiced law and resided in Donaldsonville. Art helps to interpret this difficult period of American History. ONLINE: rraam.eventbrite.com
New Orleans: Freedom Gala, 100 Book Giveaway, and Historical Marker reveal
New Orleans Juneteenth Festival at Congo Square
Now in its third year, the festival will feature performances by Delfeayo Marsalis, Kalindah Laveaux, N’Kafu Traditional West African Dance, Tekrema and performance group The League of Clowns. There also will be a panel discussion, “A Blueprint to Freedom: Economics, Education & Gentrification.” A parade opens the event on Sunday, June 19 at 2 p.m. and the festival runs 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. A kickoff gala also takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Juneteenth Freedom Gala on Saturday June 18, at the Treme Market Branch, North Claiborne Ave. The 2nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Gala is highlighting community leaders and artists in a night of Black beauty and excellence. Event includes: live band, film screening, Black trivia, artist presentation and auction by Alina Allen, and award presentation to community leaders. Semi-formal/Formal Red,Black & Green or African attire. Dinner includes vegan-friendly options. Online: juneteenthfreedomgala.eventbrite.com
Dooky Chase Family Foundation Historical Marker Installation and the Civil Right Legacy Walk
On Monday, June 20, the Chase Family Foundation celebrates the installation of the historic marker commemorating the contribution of the Chase family to the State of Louisiana. The event will take place at Dooky Chase Restaurant, 2301 Orleans Avenue (corner of Orleans Ave. and Miro Streetmark). This event is the start of construction of “The Civil Rights Legacy Walk”, a series of pavers around the restaurant honoring the men and women who fought for Social Justice and Economic Betterment for all Americans.
Franklin: Soul Food Festival
SECOND ANNUAL SOULFOOD FESTIVAL & 5K RUN in historic Downtown Franklin, LA. June 17-18, for soul food, live music, a 5K race, a Health Village offering free screenings, a Children's Village, and more.
Ferryday: 12 Years A Slave Watch Party, Juneteenth parade, and awards ceremony
12 Years A Juneteenth Watch Party, Sunday, June 19, at noon in the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame & Arcade Theatre, 218 Louisiana Avenue, Ferriday. State Representative C. Travis Johnson and friends will host this viewing along with Bar-b-que and daiquiri. Free admission.
The Madam CJ Walker Louisiana Juneteenth Celebration is a two-day festival of concerts in Northeast (Delta) Louisiana, inviting people of all backgrounds to come and enjoy historical Black culture and music. The concerts will feature an array of music genres such as Zydeco, Blues, Hip-hop, and Gospel, and bring in participants from all over Louisiana and West Mississippi. There will be festivities and minor events leading up to the festival weekend. The Louisiana Juneteenth Association is the organized body that is responsible for planning the event and selecting the sponsors. Online: www.LouisianaJuneteenth.com
Denham Springs: Juneteenth: The Slavery Detective of the South
Juneteenth: The Slavery Detective of the South Dr. Antoinette Harrell. Denham Springs-Walker Library, West Meeting Room, Saturday, June 18, 2pm. Renowned genealogist, local historian, author, and peonage detective Dr. Antoinette Harrell uncovers startling research about the continuance of slavery and peonage in our local parishes and the United States after Juneteenth. The library is located at 8101 U.S. Hwy 190, Denham Springs. Call (225) 686-4173 to register.