The Backstreet Cultural Museum grows out of the very community-based processions and masking traditions it represents. The museum works to maintain these traditions through active participation in the local Tremé community and beyond.
The Backstreet Cultural Museum offers public programming that strengthens neighborhood spirit, as well as educates wider audiences about New Orleans’ parading culture.
Guided Exhibition Tours
Education is foremost at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. We provide guided tours for individual visitors, groups, and school field trips. Our tours engage visitors of all ages and promote understanding of New Orleans’ African American cultural legacy.
Get information on scheduling a group tour or school field trip here.
Mardi Gras Indian Sewing Program
The Backstreet Cultural Museum inaugurates its Mardi Gras Indian Sewing Program in 2010. The program will provide opportunities for youth to learn the history and art of Mardi Gras Indians from elders who uphold the tradition. Students will have hands-on experiences sewing Mardi Gras Indian “patches,” or designs, and will learn about the Indians’ traditions.
The Backstreet Cultural Museum Oral History Project
The museum will implement an oral history project on the New Orleans’ jazz funeral tradition in 2011. This will be the first of many oral history projects that stem from the Backstreet Cultural Museum. The project will result in an oral history archive at Backstreet--accessible to museum visitors, researchers, and the local community--and publications related to the interviews.
Mardi Gras Day Open House
On Mardi Gras Day, there’s no better place to be than the Backstreet Cultural Museum. At the museum, you will catch the Mardi Gras Indians in their new suits, the North Side Skull and Bone gang, Baby Dolls, musicians, culture bearers, and just about anyone else.
Our annual Mardi Gras Day Open House begins at 8 a.m. with “Breakfast with the Bone Gang.” Come witness and partake in the music and dances that honor New Orleans’ cultural heritage.
All Saints Day Parade
The Backstreet Cultural Museum celebrated its grand opening on November 1, 1999—All Saints Day—with a mock jazz funeral. Complete with a brass band, horse-drawn carriage, and grand marshals, the parade moved through the streets of the Faubourg Tremé. The anniversary parade has since become a museum tradition, held each year on All Saints Day, and in honor of a beloved member of the community who has passed on. This event signals the museum’s commitment to raise awareness of the New Orleans’ jazz funeral tradition.
Back to School Picnic
Since its inception, the Backstreet Cultural Museum has collaborated with the Mandingo Warriors “Spirit of Fi Yi Yi” Mardi Gras Indians to host an annual Back to School Picnic. Every year, the picnic provides over 250 youth with school supplies and prepares them for the upcoming school year. The event is held on the Saturday before Labor Day.