Louisiana African American Heritage Trail Revitalization and Relaunch

Photo3 Arna Bontemps Museum
This turn-of-the-twentieth-century wood frame house is home to the Arna Bontemps African American Museum in Alexandria and serves as a memorial to the incredible life and work of Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps, one of the nation’s most prolific African American writers.

EDGARD, La (press release) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism announced a project to revitalize and relaunch the Louisiana African American Trail. The announcement came during a luncheon at Whitney Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana, one of the current trail sites. First launched in February 2008, the original trail included 26 sites from New Orleans to north Louisiana, and has since expanded to the current 38 sites open to the public. This new revitalization and relaunch project will begin with a new site nomination process that will further expand the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

“The current Louisiana African American Heritage Trail is an excellent foundation from which we will build,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “As we went through the process of creating the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail, we discovered so many stories not tied directly to the civil rights movement, stories that need to be told for generations to come. Just in my travels of Louisiana and talking to many people, I learned of several stories illustrating the contributions African Americans made in shaping the history, culture, and heritage of Louisiana. This revitalization will promote three centuries of history since the people of African descent arrived in Louisiana.”

The Louisiana African American Heritage Trail will start from the arrival of ships carrying the enslaved arriving in Louisiana in 1719 and continue all the way through the Civil Rights period. This will include slavery, sharecropping, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era, setting the state for the Modern Civil Rights Movement. The trail will explore the themes of music, literature, entrepreneurship, invention, agriculture, commerce, and much more.

Lt. Governor Nungesser also announced a series of statewide meetings in the fall to further discuss an overview of the trail and explain the new site nomination process. The Louisiana Office of Tourism is revitalizing the trail based upon the stories, photos and information gathered during the research phase, and will promote selected sites as tourism destinations. The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, at 1 p.m.in the West Baton Rouge Museum, 845 N. Jefferson Avenue, in Port Allen. A full schedule of the statewide meetings will be released soon.

“I’m very excited for our team to begin the research process to discover more of the stories and contributions of African Americans in Louisiana,” said Assistant Secretary of Tourism Doug Bourgeois. “Visitors from around the world are fascinated by historical and cultural trails like this one, making this an outstanding opportunity to share everything we find.”


To nominate a site, please visit LouisianaAfricanAmericanHeritageTrail.com.



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