Backstreet Cultural Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana - Atlas Obscura
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New Orleans, Louisiana

Backstreet Cultural Museum

The greatest collection of New Orleans masking and processional traditions covering everything from Baby Dolls to Skull and Bone gangs.  

The Backstreet Cultural Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions, including the Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, Baby Dolls, and Skull and Bone gangs.

The museum’s filmed records of over 500 events constitute the most cohesive archive documenting these cultural traditions. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Backstreet Cultural Museum hosts public performances of music and dance, provides outreach programs, and creates an annual book, Keeping Jazz Funerals Alive, that chronicles the year’s jazz funerals. 

The Backstreet Cultural Museum educates diverse constituencies about New Orleans’ African American heritage.

Know Before You Go

It's closed on Mondays. The museum always has a guided tour, and questions are welcomed. The Al Hirt shrine is a a fun too. Overall, this is a great place to learn more about African American New Orleans celebration traditions, including the Second Line, jazz funerals and Mardi Gras organizations. They will help you find a second line that is coming up for you to participate with too!