It’s one of the most important sites in the history of American and world music and just a few steps from the legendary French Quarter:

Congo Square, New Orleans.

It’s the one place in North America where Africans were given one day a week to gather and play music during the days of slavery.

And it’s closed.

Congo Square is in inside Armstrong Park as is the Municipal Auditorium and Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Center.

Over two years after the federal levee failures, Armstrong Park named for one of the most important figures in American cultural history remains closed. What’s the hang up?


FEMA has still not paid the city to repair the damage to the park’s electrical system caused by the collapse of the federal levee system.

This Saturday (0ct0ber 17), part of the park will be opened for the North RampArt Festival. Here are details from Offbeat Magazine:

“Saturday, Armstrong Park will be the site for the North RampArt Festival, sponsored by the Lt. Governor’s Office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism; North Rampart Main Street; the Arts Council of New Orleans; the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation; the National Parks Service Preserve America program; Alto Audio,WYES, WWNO, WWOZ; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The celebration of music, arts, food and culture runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes local artisans, their creations, and music by:

Treme Brass Band, the Pinettes Brass Band, the John Boutte Gospel Jubilee, and Delta bluesman Brian Sivils’ Trio.

Food will be provided by Tomatillo’s, Meauxbar Bistro, Rampart Café 704, N’Awlins Flava, P&J Oysters, and Covenant Café.

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