Editor’s note, 06.18.21: Some of this weekend’s events have been canceled due to impending tropical weather. Please contact the organizations for more info.
June 19 is Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. The holiday marks the annual anniversary of June 19, 1865. That’s when the last remaining African-American slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom—despite the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation was already more than two and a half years old.
Sometimes called “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day” or “Juneteenth Independence Day,” the holiday is celebrated across the country with festivals, parades, caravans and lots of food and music—and it’s no different here in Baton Rouge. This month, you’ll find festivities and gatherings all over town. Here are a few to check out.
Know of a Juneteenth event we missed? Tell us at [email protected] so we can add it here.
CADAV’s Juneteenth Celebration – Saturday, June 12
The event will highlight access to community health and a 1K trail walk. The free, all-ages gathering will include community vendors, food, games, music and more. The YMCA pool will also be open for swimming, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
LSU African American Cultural Center hosts Juneteenth celebration – Thursday, June 17
The Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center and the LSU Office of Multicultural Affairs are hosting a Juneteenth Celebration 11 a.m.-2 p.m. featuring live music, games, historical reflection and plenty of soul food. The celebration is an in-person and virtual hybrid event with a variety of educational components for those tuning in online.
It will be a night of uplifting live music, original poetry and a historical retrospective from keynote speaker, MetroMorphosis’ Raymond A. Jetson. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome will also announce details about the museum’s new building.
Juneteenth Citywide Caravan and Juneteenth Festival – Saturday, June 19
The second annual Unified Juneteenth Caravan will travel throughout Baton Rouge next Saturday morning. The event, presented by the Baton Rouge African American Museum with community partners CADAV and Representative C. Denise Marcelle, aims to unite all the separate Juneteenth celebrations in the city. Line-up will begin at Memorial Stadium at 9:30 a.m., with the caravan starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at Gus Young Park. Individual tickets start at $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite. Attendees are asked to decorate their vehicles with Juneteenth-inspired art and messages.
Marcelle’s Juneteenth Festival will follow at the park, noon to 4 p.m. The event will include free food, music by local musician Kenny Neal and his family, and free COVID-19 vaccines administered by CareSouth Medical and Dental. Everyone who gets the vaccine will receive free crawfish or other refreshments and will be entered into a drawing to win $1,000. Gus Young Park is at 4200 Gus Young Ave.
New Ark Baptist Church and the Old South Baton Rouge community are celebrating Juneteenth and Black art and culture during three events next Saturday.
First up is a Community Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at New Ark Baptist Church; followed by a Landmark Designation at 10 a.m. at 963 Terrace Ave.; and a Street Festival/Pop Up Market at Thomas H. Delpit Drive, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Juneteenth Fitness Expo and Popup Shop – Saturday, June 19
Ariane LaCoq Franklin and Damon Franklin are hosting a free event at Boil and Roux to celebrate Juneteenth featuring fitness demos from local and regional fitness instructors and trainers. There will also be local Black-owned businesses setting up at the restaurant for a pop-up shop.
Juneteenth Celebration of Unity – Saturday, June 19
Head to Galvez Plaza in downtown Baton Rouge for the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Unity. The festivities take place 3-8 p.m.
The event will include art, food trucks and music by The Michael Foster Project, as well as a few soon-to-be-announced guests. There will be panel discussions and words from political, civic and community leaders. Guests can browse items for sale at the small business market.