Local art exhibits highlight mixed race identity
It is in many ways a secret history. In antebellum New Orleans, the gens de couleur libres, or free people of color (FPC), experienced a golden age of influence and creativity unknown outside Louisiana. It was almost forgotten even here after segregation became the law in the 1890s, so it may come as a surprise that they were once nearly half of this city's population. By 1810, much of Haiti's Afro-Creole professional class had fled the devastation of the Haitian revolution. Here their skills were soon seen in the building of Marigny, Treme and parts of the French Quarter where they helped to create much of we think of as New Orleans culture.
Artist-activist Jose Torres Tama, an Ecuador native who grew up in New Jersey, became intrigued by their legacy after moving here in 1984. Over the years his interest evolved into a series of portraits and a book, both commissioned by the Ogden Museum, and now this exhibit at Le Musee de FPC. MORE >>>