Portage Bike Roll 2018

Purchased Lives panel exhibition in Virginia

THNOC exhibition at Louisiana Children’s Museum

Portage Bike Roll 2018

Three centuries of New Orleans culture unfold across a lush urban landscape as The Historic New Orleans Collection presents the Portage Bike Roll 2018. A component of the upcoming exhibition Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, presented by The Helis Foundation, the Portage Roll is a self-guided bike tour that can be taken with or without a guide and will reach outside of the gallery walls to bring participants face to face with the art, architecture, and history of the city.

Featuring stops at St. Augustine Church in Tremé, The Wave of the World sculpture in City Park, Bayou St. John, and more, the Portage Roll intertwines these landmarks of New Orleans’s diverse communities into a single, idiosyncratic urban landscape.

The six-mile tour traces the ancient portage route—an overland path—that once connected the Mississippi River to Bayou St. John and, by extension, Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico. Situated on a natural ridge, this footpath had been used for trade by Native Americans for centuries, and prompted the French to establish New Orleans in 1718 where the French Quarter is today. Esplanade Avenue, running from the river to Bayou St. John, traverses part of this ridge and is the primary thoroughfare of the Portage Roll.

Artist Babette Beaullieu set the route, which was inspired by a similar program conceived by the late architect R. Allen Eskew. Jakob Rosenzweig, a local cartographer, designed a map of the tour, allowing for a self-guided experience.  

Note: The  tour travels more than six miles and requires strenuous physical exertion.

Purchased Lives
panel exhibition in Virginia

The Historic New Orleans Collection presents a panel version of Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 at the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Based on content in the exhibition of original artifacts, the vibrant and informative panels feature reproductions of the artifacts, along with text detailing the many facets and effects of the domestic slave trade. The display will be on view January 1–February 28, 2019.

Curated by former THNOC historian Erin M. Greenwald, Purchased Lives examines the period between America’s 1808 abolition of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which an estimated two million people were forcibly moved within the confines of the United States. The domestic trade wreaked new havoc on the lives of enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South—Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC—sold and shipped surplus laborers to the developing Lower South—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, which was the largest slave market in antebellum America.

The exhibition’s narrative is not limited to New Orleans, however. It examines a complex and divisive period of American history, helping viewers learn about the far-reaching economic and heartbreaking personal impact of the domestic slave trade.

During its 2015 run at THNOC’s Williams Research Center, Purchased Lives deeply impacted visitors, many of whom returned for two, three, four or more visits. In total, more than 15,000 people visited the display, with the final day seeing 667 people. By comparison, that same space saw 14,000 people during all of 2014.

THNOC exhibit at Louisiana Children's Museum

THNOC exhibition at Louisiana Children’s Museum

The Historic New Orleans Collection proudly collaborates with the Louisiana Children’s Museum to present an activity area that teaches children ages 4 through 10 about 19th-century life in the French Quarter through replicas of some of THNOC’s properties.

Visitors stroll through a reproduction of the Merieult House carriageway into a working courtyard, where they can wash and hang laundry, feed animals, and participate in other hands-on activities. Children can also role-play as shopkeepers inside a model of an old-fashioned general store.

In addition, six small-scale reproductions of other THNOC buildings recreate the environment of the French Quarter and offer a closer look at life and architecture in the city’s oldest neighborhood. Through its innovative use of social studies, technology, and urban planning lessons, the LCM exhibition introduces THNOC’s resources and facilities to a new generation.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum is located at 420 Julia Street in the Warehouse District between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas Streets. Visit www.lcm.org to learn more about LCM or call (504) 523-1357.