The birthplace of jazz
Once a vibrant market place where slaves and free people of color could trade, exchange news, and play music on Sundays: Congo Square now is a quiet corner in Armstrong Park, just three blocks away from Bourbon Street in the Tremé Neighborhood, more commonly referred to as just “Tremé”. Popularized by the post-Katrina HBO series, Tremé has has always been a cultural incubator for the City of New Orleans and the United States at large. Formed at the end of the 18th century, Tremé was the first neighborhood established by free people of color. The neighborhood helped give rise to jazz and some of its most talented practitioners still live there today.
Although on most hot New Orleans afternoons Congo Square may seem sleepy, every Thursday evening there are free concerts. On Sunday afternoons there is a traditional drum circle, dating back to the mid-1700s and a practice that played a substantial role in the development of jazz music. The original New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival was held here in 1970, although the rapid demand and increasing size of the attendees have since moved the festival to the New Orleans Fair Grounds.
It's only fitting that the birthplace of Jazz be found inside what is now known as Louis Armstrong Park, named after one of the city's favorite sons. This beautifully manicured park is one of the lesser-known stops amongst tourists, but you'll enjoy the greenery, fountains and history during our Beyond the French Quarter Bike Tour.