Paper Monuments Project

Paper Monuments is a project designed to elevate the voices of the people of New Orleans in the process of creating new symbols for our city that represent all of our people. During the process, you'll see posters and flyers across New Orleans showing some of the people, places, events, and movements that have shaped our city over the past 300 years. We reached out to some of New Orleans greatest activists, historians, storytellers, and artists to honor these erased histories as we look towards the future. This tour of Paper Monuments will expand as more are created.

La Village des Chapitoulas

New Orleans is an Indian town. When Frenchmen and Africans arrived in the bend of the Mississippi that would eventually be re-named New Orleans, they encountered a place that had been home to Native Americans for hundreds of years. We know from…

Marie Baron and Les Forcats

Marie Baron was among thousands of forçats, or French criminals sent to Louisiana in the early 1700s as forced laborers. Most were convicted for life terms, but if they survived the first few years (the majority did not), they could acquire a de…

San Malo Maroons

The San Malo Maroons have the most remarkable and extensively documented history of runaway slave communities in the Western Hemisphere. These men and women lived in the swamps surrounding New Orleans. They established permanent settlements in Chef…

St. Louis La Nuit

The extraordinary life-history of Saint Louis la Nuit reads like a first draft of early New Orleans history. Born in Africa in 1728, he had a name, a family and an ethnic identity which defined his place in the world. Torn from his identity moorings…

Henriette Delille

Henriette Delille, a free woman of color, founded the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1842. Under her guidance the early Sisters, all free women of African descent, devoted themselves to the care of the poorest of the poor, the enslaved and free people…

Slave Revolt of 1811

The Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811 was the largest slave insurrection in the history of the United States. The revolt was carried out by enslaved men and women, house servants and field hands, some born in Louisiana and others recently arrived from…

Bras-Coupé

When Bras-Coupé was a slave owned by General William DeBuys, he was known by the name Squire. Like so many other slaves in New Orleans, Squire refused to remain in bondage. He escaped to the cypress swamps above the city where he joined the Maroons…

Couvent School

On January 29, 1858, student André Gregoire wrote the following in an assignment for his English class: “A man cannot do anything if he has no education to conduct himself in business; therefore, I make all my efforts to learn as soon as I can.” He…

Comité des Citoyens

Most famous for being the group that organized member Homer Plessy's violation of railroad segregation laws on a train in 1892, the Comité des Citoyens was a group founded by Rodolphe Desdunes and Louis Martinet, with aid and advice from…

Streetcar Protest 1867

When the first mule-drawn streetcars were introduced to New Orleans in the 1820s, no black passengers, free or enslaved, were allowed to ride. Free blacks challenged this new indignity atop the erosion of long-held rights; under territorial…

The General Strike of 1892

125 years ago, one of the greatest united strikes happened here in New Orleans – the General Strike of 1892. The general strike grew out of the labor movement struggles for improved economic well-being and Black peoples’ continued struggles for…

The Funeral of André Cailloux

Since its founding 150 years earlier, New Orleans had never seen anything like it: immense crowds of black residents, including members of thirty-some mutual aid societies, thronging Esplanade Avenue for more than a mile to witness the funeral…

1946 Flambeaux Strike

New Orleans calls them the flambeaux — French for “flaming torches” — the contingent of mostly African-American men who carry 70-pound, kerosene-fueled wooden crosses used to illuminate Carnival parade routes. It’s a tradition as old as Mardi Gras…

Sit-In at McCrory's

In September 1960, the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, staged two high-profile sit-ins in an attempt to desegregate Canal Street lunch counters. Integration had slowed to a standstill. “We were fed up,” said Rudy…

McDonogh Day Boycott

John McDonogh was a wealthy businessman and owner of enslaved people during the early 19th century, when New Orleans was one of the nation's most prosperous cities. Upon his death in 1850, he donated much of his fortune to the education of "poor…

Dorothy Mae Taylor

Dorothy Mae Taylor was the first Black woman elected to Louisiana State Legislature in 1971, with Oretha Castle Haley managing her campaign. Taylor served as an advocate for children, mothers, and the incarcerated, and was the builder of a network of…

Saint Katharine Drexel and Xavier University

Katharine Mary Drexel, born on November 26, 1858, into one of the wealthiest families in Philadelphia was destined to be a socialite and a member of privileged society. He father, Francis A. Drexel and his brothers owned an international banking…

Commander Noel Carriere

Commander Noel Carriere was decorated for bravery in the American Revolution, a black hero in his own time, forgotten in ours. Carriere was born into slavery at English Turn in 1745 to African parents who came to New Orleans in chains. His…

Desire Standoff

On September 15, 1970, one of America’s largest standoffs took place between the New Orleans chapter of the Black Panther Party and multiple branches of law enforcement within the Desire housing projects in the city’s Ninth Ward. Leading up to the…

The Pythian Temple

The Pythian Temple building at Gravier and Loyola (formerly Saratoga) streets was erected in 1909, and was soundly celebrated throughout the United States in the African American press as a true monument to the literal heights of the “Negro race.”…

Dew Drop Inn

The Dew Drop Inn "opened" its doors in 1939 under the ownership of Mr. Frank Pania. The Dew Drop would become a major player in the development of Rhythm and Blues. The "Drop," as it was called, became the hub of social and civic…

Arson Attack on the UpStairs Lounge

The UpStairs Lounge was a gay bar that occupied the second floor of a building at the corner of Chartres and Iberville Streets in the French Quarter. It was a friendly, neighborhood bar that afforded gay men a safe space to gather and enjoy each…

Charity Hospital

Charity Hospital did not have to close. It was restored to working order within a few weeks of Katrina with the extraordinary volunteer effort of more than 200 doctors, nurses, technical professionals, citizens and military staff. UMC at $1.1 billion…
For more information on Paper Monuments, visit PAPERMONUMENTS.ORG and on Twitter @Paper.Monuments or email them at INFO@PAPERMONUMENTS.ORG
#papermonuments #peoplesmonuments #monumentsforall