From Mardi Gras Indians to jazz funerals, the Backstreet Cultural Museum holds an extensive collection dedicated to New Orleans' cultural traditions.

Kathy Anderson

Meet ESSENCE Fest Community Corner returnees, Sylvester Francis and The Backstreet Cultural Museum.

Gia Peppers
Apr, 17, 2015

One of the greatest parts about going to ESSENCE Fest is the opportunity all of our guests have to give back to or get involved with various kinds of valued organizations, founded in the New Orleans community.  Each day, ESSENCE Fest attendees can venture outside of the various performances and panels to discover local intiatives that suit their interest in our ESSENCE Community Corner on the grounds of the Convention Center.

The city is known for its' unique culture and history.  For example, while others tend to mourn the death of their loved ones, New Orlenians have parades to celebrate the lives of the ones they loved.  Until our next Community Corner vendor, Sylvester Francis, found a way to capture the history of his beloved city, no one knew how to explain it to tourists.  Francis decided to fill that need by opening up his own establishment called The Backstreet Cultural Museum.

Want to find out more?  Read this excerpt from the May/June issue of ESSENCE Magazine.

Sylvester Francis and The Backstreet Cultural Museum The Backstreet Cultural Museum was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1999 by founder and director Sylvester Francis. Located in the historic Faubourg Tremé neighborhood at 1116 Henriette Delille Street, the Backstreet Cultural Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions, including 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.

While you are in town, check them out at the Community Corner and make time to visit their great establishment.  Find out more about them on their website.

To make sure you don't miss out on these amazing vendors and many more, buy your tickets to ESSENCE Fest 2015.  Single Night Tickets are available now.