An app-based walking tour of the French Quarter aims to shed light on New Orleans' crucial and brutal role in the slave trade.
On Sept. 27, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and tourism officials unveiled historic markers and a preview of a mobile, app-based walking tour at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street — site of the Merieult House, home of Jean-Francois Merieult, who financed the trade of more than 750 enslaved people into North America from Africa over the course of three voyages. The building now is recognized with a bronze-and-brown marker by its front doors, facing Royal Street's busy foot traffic.
"It's more fitting now than ever that we uphold and acknowledge the history of our 300-year-old city," Cantrell said in a statement. "This initiative will allow us to honor the lives and dignity of those ancestors who were undoubtedly bought and sold here in New Orleans."
Amid the many celebrations and retrospectives that have accompanied the city's 300th birthday this year, one of the less-heralded aspects of N…
The New Orleans Slave Trade Marker Tour app was created by New York-based software company OnCell. Each site has a chapter highlighting the stories, families and figures for each marker site; there also are chapters on the sugar and cotton trades, the forced takeover of Native American land, and the impact of the Louisiana Purchase, and each chapter features at least one first-person testimony.
There are five marker sites: the Historic New Orleans Collection, The Cabildo, St. Louis Hotel (now the Omni Royal New Orleans Hotel), Franklin and Armfield compound (Esplanade Avenue and Royal Street), and the New Orleans Slave Depot (now the Four Winds Apartments on Baronne Street). A sixth marker is planned for the former Banks' Arcade, now the St. James Hotel.
Historian Erin M. Greenwald said the tour "takes steps to recognize the difficult history of the slave trade and recover the stories of some of the more than 130,000 men, women, and children who were carried to New Orleans against their wills to be sold in the city's slave markets."
Mark Romig, President and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation President, said the app's objective is to "tell the complete history of our city and to use this history to teach and provide a roadmap for the future," he said in a statement.