Foodways and social equity programming for the Baton Rouge community

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area (AHNA) will sponsor two programs in the Baton Rouge area in celebration of Black History Month. The central themes of these programs include social equity, Afroculinaria and modern foodways of the diaspora community, and the lingering impact of slavery and segregation on Louisiana’s justice system.

“Louisiana’s dispersed communities have traditionally been under-represented in our interpretation of the influential aspects of Louisiana’s culture and history. I am proud my office and the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area are supporting the programming developed by BREC and the River Road African-American Museum in celebration of Black History Month,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

On Thursday, February 7, The River Road African-American Museum will host Survival: Food for the Soul at the Ashland Belle Helene Plantation, 8000 LA-3251 in Geismar. Featuring award winning food historian Dr. Jessica Harris, Survival: Food for the Soul addresses the role the transatlantic slave trade in the development of southern cuisine. She will also lead a tasting of traditional vegetable dishes focusing on the historical impact of the transatlantic slave trade on modern southern cuisine. In addition to Dr. Harris, speakers from across Louisiana and the nation will address the impact of the Jim Crow era segregation, the Civil Rights fight of the 1960’s, and the continued push for social equity in modern society. Admission is free, RSVPs are requested by calling the River Road African-American Museum at 225-474-5553.

On Thursday, February 21, BREC will host their Annual Black History Month Celebration at Independence Park Theatre and Cultural Center, located at 800 Independence Boulevard in Baton Rouge. The program will feature Mychal Bell of the Jena 6 as the sponsored speaker, and the theme of the program will be Present Day History—Channeling the Past; Changing the Narrative. The celebration is meant to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans both in history and present day. Multiple mediums will be used to enhance the program including an artist walk, musical and spoken performance, and youth skits. More information can be found on BREC’s website.

Contributed by the Office of the Lt. Gov.