The best black businesses in New Orleans


Courtesy of Flickr

Lauren Flowers, Intersections Editor

Black culture has had an extremely notable influence on New Orleans, even in the face of hundreds of years of adversity. From New Orleans’ establishment in 1718, until the eradication of slavery in 1865, its relevance as trade center and, thus, its wealth was dependent on the forced labor of its Black population.

But even under the burden of slavery and the segregation that followed, Black culture in New Orleans bloomed. In fact, much of the city’s unique culture can be traced to its Black community, one of the oldest and most enduring in the United States. From local cuisine that never fails to win national awards, to Mardi Gras traditions that bring more than a million people to the city each spring, Black culture is an integral part of New Orleans’ societal backbone.

So, in honor of Black History Month, The Hullabaloo has compiled a list of some of New Orleans’ best Black-owned businesses, in celebration of their resiliency and cultural impact on one of the most unique cities in the world.

Tee-Eva’s Old Fashioned Pies and Pralines

For years, Miss Tee-Eva has been dubbed the unofficial Praline Queen of New Orleans, and her shop is even further proof of her qualifications for the title. Though Tee-Eva’s speciality is praline concoctions, her shop also serves up authentic Creole dishes exclusive to New Orleans, making her shop a destination for celebrities and locals alike. If a trip to New Orleans isn’t on your calendar, don’t worry – Tee-Eva’s delivers too.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Without a doubt, Willie Mae’s is one of New Orleans’ best known restaurants – and maybe one of the United States’ best known restaurants too. Established in 1957, Willie Mae’s began as a three-piece social hub: a bar, beauty salon and barber shop. But as years progressed, demand for Willie Mae’s bar grew enormously, and in 2019, it’s the only thing left standing. Willie Mae’s is the recipient of numerous international accolades, and was given the title of “America’s Best Fried Chicken” by the Food Network, the Travel Channel and The Hullabaloo. If you’re looking for the epitome of classic Southern cooking, look no further than Willie Mae’s.

The Backstreet Cultural Museum

If you’re looking to gain a historical understanding of the customs that have made New Orleans Mardi Gras a world-renowned celebration, the Backstreet Cultural Museum is the way to go. Hosting a vast collection of Mardi Gras memorabilia, the Museum specializes in elaborate “Mardi Gras Indian” costumes, a popular tradition evolved from the celebratory practices of escaped slaves and Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. With New Orleans’ festival season already in full swing, a visit to the Backstreet Cultural Museum is imperative for a deeper look at New Orleans’ heritage.

Le Musée de f.p.c.

Free people of color in the United States are one of history’s most erased demographics, despite their contribution to American society. This is especially troubling for a city like New Orleans, where the cultural ties between free people of color, enslaved people of color and European settlers are so distinctly intertwined. Thus, Le Musée de f.p.c. was created to tell their stories. As one of the few places in the world that exclusively preserves free people of color’s artifacts and contributions to society, Le Musée de f.p.c. is one of the most uniquely powerful attractions New Orleans has to offer.

Stella Jones Gallery

Founded by two Black New Orleanian art collectors and located in the heart of New Orleans, Stella Jones Gallery showcases African American, African and Caribbean art by contemporary artists in bi-monthly cycles. Each exhibition has a specific theme, and Stella Jones, the gallery’s owner and curator, meets with every exhibited artist to gain a deeper understanding up their artistic processes and work. Stella Jones Gallery is a must-see New Orleans attraction successful in its mission of making the heritage of many Black New Orleanians accessible to all.

Community Book Center

Community Book Center is one of New Orleans’ lesser-known treasures. Snuggled in the Seventh Ward, the Center showcases African-centered creations such as literature, art and assorted knick-knacks. The Center also often hosts performances, book signings and open discussions, all completely open to the public. If you’re looking for community, or maybe just a gift to bring back home, the Community Book Center has exactly what you need.

Lil Dizzy’s Cafe

Established in 1940 and owned by the Baquet family – known as one of the greatest restaurateur families of New Orleans – Lil Dizzy’s serves affordable New Orleans soul food in a welcoming, relaxed setting. Whether you’re stopping by after Sunday morning church, or in the midst of a Sunday morning hangover, Lil Dizzy’s doesn’t judge – just grab a menu and get comfortable.