Slave Life in New Orleans

New Orleans 'ol Slave Market

French Quarter

French Quarter

Iron gates once penned in slaves from escaping their quarters – now they’re an inviting feature at hotels, markets and bungalows in the New Orleans.

Before heading home, Melvin gave me a tour of where, tragically, slaves from the Caribbean, Africa, even the Mississippi Delta were shackled and dropped in New Orleans for trading and work.

Melvin pointed out cramped rooms that held dozens who worked the scorching hot swamps during the day and were chained at night. Little ventilation and no beds meant that everyone had to sleep on the floor.

Today, these same narrow buildings, set behind the main house, have modernized into romantic, restful living spaces. Gone are the chains, ropes, manacles or any horrific torture device.

The once racially-segregated buildings have been remodeled into fashionable apartments with cozy furniture, romantic outdoor gas lamps and boutique amenities.

To pay proper deference to a beautiful city built on the backs of enslaved men you really need to take a walking tour with a historian.