New Orleans is home to a rich African American and Indian history, and the Backstreet Cultural Museum exemplifies this history. The Backstreet Cultural Museum is located in the oldest African American neighborhood in the country right in the heart of New Orleans in Treme section. The bond between African American slaves and Indians grew when runaway slaves sought shelter in the nearby Indian tribes during the 18th and 19th centuries. As time moved forward African Americans continued to bond with the Native American culture, and today the result has been a thriving culture with its own style and artifacts. The tribes in the surrounding areas create beautiful feather and beaded costumes that are worn only twice a year, once on Mardi Gras day and on the Sunday before or after St. Joe’s day.
The Backstreet Museum is funded by donations and has a growing collection of African American Memorabilia, art, photos, and videos that educate the public about the thriving and historic African American community. Some of the more extravagant items to go see while at the museum include the Mardi Gras Indian headdresses and costumes. These costumes take a full year to hand make and include hundreds of feathers, stones, and plumes that make for one gorgeous and eye catching piece of clothing.
Along with the Backstreet Cultural Museum’s vast collection of Mardi Gras Indian clothing the museum includes clothing and objects from the notorious Skull and Bone Gang of New Orleans. The gang is a very important part of the Mardi Gras procession and starts the party off right. Jazz funerals are also a local tradition exclusive to New Orleans and the museum includes photos, videos, and memorabilia from funerals over the past 30 years.
If you want to experience the true culture of New Orleans and learn about its rich African American and Indian history then you have to take a tour of the Backstreet Cultural Museum. From memorabilia to fantastic costumes the museum is a thrilling place to visit when you vacation in New Orleans.