The Living Museum features exhibits detailing the neighborhood’s history dating back to the 1700s, when it served as a colony for escaped slaves. Throughout six rooms of exhibits the museum highlights the Lower Ninth Ward’s role during desegregation in the South, the legacy of key historical figures, the community’s long history of social justice and activism, and much more. It takes us through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, ending with a room dedicated to “Rebirth and Remembrance” where visitors and residents are encouraged to share their mementos and memories honoring the Lower Ninth Ward community.
Through collaboration with local residents and organizations, the museum proudly showcases oral histories, as well as archival research, donated photographs and historical artifacts to be presented in the exhibits.
The Red Room: The red room showcases the early history of the Lower Ninth Ward, dating back to when it was a colony for escaped slaves. It also points out how the neighborhood is mostly missing from tourist maps of New Orleans, detailing a long history of being exploited, neglected and forgotten. The Red Room explores some of the rich cultural traditions of the Lower Ninth Ward, including the history of Mardi Gras Indians, and the many tribes that hail from this neighborhood.
The Yellow Room:The Yellow Room continues into the 19th century, documenting the Lower Ninth Ward during slavery as well as the Civil War. This room details the history of Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, benevolent societies (insurance pools) that were originally formed after Emancipation in response to bleak job prospects for former slaves. Exhibits include information on interracial cooperation, the construction of the Industrial Canal, the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927, and spiritual leaders from Lower Ninth Ward history.
The Blue Room:
The Blue Room takes us through the 20th century, beginning with the Lower Ninth Ward as ground zero for desegregation in the South. This room also showcases exhibits on Hurricane Betsy in 1965, as well as presidential visits to the neighborhood and famous people who call the Lower Ninth Ward home.
The Green Room:The Green Room centers on the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the Lower Ninth Ward. The room details fatal government decisions leading up to the levee failure, the delayed government response, the bungled evacuation and the horrifying aftermath that followed. The exhibits also offer a glimpse into the Lower Ninth Ward since Hurricane Katrina, including the lack of infrastructure and endless barriers that have stood in the way of rebuilding.
The Purple Room:The Purple Room is dedicated to “Rebirth and Remembrance,” a place to honor the strength and resilience of the Lower Ninth Ward. In addition to housing a photo exhibition, this room serves as a space where visitors and residents are encouraged to share their mementos and memories honoring the Lower Ninth Ward community.