The 2019 Ford Media Ride & Drive during 25th Anniversary of the Essence Festival was in full force this year yet again! Running with this year’s theme “Paint the Future Proud”, the well-known motor company spotlighted visual artists Shantell Martin, Sydney G. James and Melissa Mitchell. Art installations were displayed all weekend to showcase their work, while test drives
were being offered of Ford’s current vehicle lineup; paired with panel discussions and giveaways also featured, plus so much more.
During the Ford Media Ride & Drive, journalists, influencers and more got a chance to attend a special brunch (prepared by Chef Gary Netter, Culinary Ambassador of New Orleans) at The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, History and Culture powered by Ford. Attendees received a special tour of the museum which was founded in 1996 under the guidance and extensive support of the City of New Orleans Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development.
The tour led by Gia A. Hamilton, Executive Director & Chief Curator of NOAAM, gave an extensive background story and history of the land which is located in the Tremé section of New Orleans, a neighborhood that was home to the nation’s largest, most prosperous and politically progressive community of Black people by the mid-1850s.
More about NOAAM:
In the 18th century, the land was occupied by the Morand Plantation and brickyard, which was later acquired by hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé. In 1810, Tremé sold the land to the city of New Orleans, and it became home to many free persons of color. Congo Square, was a gathering place for free persons and slaves to gather, play music, and sell goods.
Tremé is unique in its architecture, it’s streets are a gumbo of double shotgun houses, Creole cottages and townhouses. An excellent example of Creole architecture is the Meilleur-Goldthwaire House, a villa built in 1828 which makes up part of the NOAAM campus. The New Orleans African American Museum is situated near the St. Augustine Church, one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes in the nation, and two other museums that center black culture and contribution: the Backstreet Cultural Museum and Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.
On site, local artists also display their work showcasing the importance of the NOLA’s heritage and what it means to them, with an addition of political and racism issues that is going on to this very day.
Visiting NOAAM was the perfect segue way into learning about the progression within their community and how someone like the media, and more could be involved. The work starts in your own communities first, and just simply should not be ignored. Invest. Create. Lead By Example. Stand for what your ancestors stood for. Fight for what they fought for.
Thanks to Ford for staying on top of what’s important to the culture! New Orleans is so rich in history and culture, so this was a very much-needed visit and collaboration during this year’s 2019 Essence Festival.
If you’re ever in NOLA, please be sure to stop by!
Be sure to visit their website at http://www.noaam.org.
More pics below!
Photos by Gabriel Williams & Nigel Degaff