How to celebrate Juneteenth in Baton Rouge in 2023

Awareness about Juneteenth has grown significantly across America since 2020, but in greater Baton Rouge, grassroots celebrations for the holiday have been going for more than a quarter century.

A range of new events have emerged, too, giving residents and visitors plenty of chances to mark Juneteenth. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had taken effect fully two-and-a-half years earlier on January 1, 1863.

Baton Rouge is celebrating Juneteenth with community gatherings, a speakers panel, live music, kids’ activities and more.

Things kick off this weekend with Kids Fest in Scotlandville. While rebranded in 2022, the longstanding community event sponsored by Citizens Against Drugs and Violence (CADAV) was one of Baton Rouge’s original Juneteenth celebrations. CADAV’s co-founder, the late Sadie Roberts-Joseph, made a point of informing children about the holiday’s meaning and importance during the annual summer festival, says her niece and CADAV’s co-founder, Pat McAllister LeDuff. “Part of our original mission was to spread the word about Juneteenth,” she says.

Roberts-Joseph, a Baton Rouge icon who was tragically murdered in 2019, was also the founder of the Baton Rouge African American Museum, which will hold an event on Monday, June 19, to commemorate the museum’s upcoming move from its original location on 538 South Blvd. to a larger, more visible site at 805 St. Louis St. LeDuff says community members are invited to choose an artifact and physically walk the item to the new building a few blocks away. The museum will reopen after Juneteenth, and will begin raising funds to renovate, LeDuff says.

Several activities bring the community together to celebrate the heritage of Juneteenth.

Know of one we missed? Email us at [email protected].

Juneteenth 2023 events around Baton Rouge

Kids Fest

Saturday, June 10
Scotlandville Parkway at Badley Road
8 a.m.: Trail walk, 1K walk and 2K run; 9 a.m.-2 p.m: Games, inflatables, health and safety information, youth entrepreneurs and makers and entertainment
(225) 355-3446

Juneteenth Panel Discussion

Thursday, June 15
LSU Museum of Art
“The Professor, Preacher and Performer: How African Americans Found Liberation Post Emancipation through the Arts, Academics and Religion” with panelists Press Robinson, Luke St. John McKnight and Rev. Lamar Batiste and moderator Markita Hawkins
5 p.m. reception; 6 p.m. panel discussion

Juneteenth Discovery Day

Saturday, June 17
Capital Park Museum
Enjoy interactive games and activities for families that reveal the history of slavery and the emancipation of enslaved Africans.
9 a.m.-1 p.m.
$5 per person, children under 6 free

Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 17
Gus Young Park at 4200 Gus Young Ave.
Organized by State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle
Noon-4 p.m.
(225) 359-9362

City of Donaldsonville’s 27th Annual Juneteenth Music Festival

Saturday, June 17
Louisiana Square at 302 Railroad Ave. in Donaldsonville
11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Find it on Facebook

Juneteenth for our Ancestors

Saturday, June 17
Scotland Saturdays Levitt Amp concert series at 8551 Scotland Ave.
5-9 p.m.

Relocation of Baton Rouge African American Museum

Monday, June 19
Community is invited to meet at South Boulevard, choose an artifact and walk it a few blocks away to the museum’s new location at 803 St. Louis St.
11 a.m.