AC3L Congo Square

Congo Square

Congo Square is an open area in New Orleans, Louisiana that functioned as a social gathering spot for the slaves during the city's colonial era of the 18th century. On Sundays, they were often allowed time away from their work, which they used to gather in the square. The place functioned as a market, as well as a spot where the slaves could play music, sing and dance with one another.

Even when the city became part of the United States, the tradition of gatherings continued and eventually became famous, due to it supporting African traditions, which were suppressed throughout the rest of the U.S. However, this lenient attitude towards the meetings was gradually replaced by the United States' harsher policy on slavery, causing the gatherings to decline and eventually stop, with the last one being held at least a decade before the American Civil War.

In the 19th century, the square became a famous musical venue, a function it continues to serve nowadays, along with that of a community gathering place.


  • Congo Square was known by the names of "Place des Nègres" and "Place Publique", as well as "Circus Square" during the 18th century. It was then renamed the Beauregard Square in the late 19th century, which lasted up until 2011, when the original name was restored.