Congo Square has such a fascinating history dating back to Louisiana's French and Spanish colonial era of the 18th century. Slaves were commonly allowed Sundays off from their work and allowed to gather in the "Place des Nègres", "Place Publique", later "Circus Square" or informally "Place Congo" at the "back of town" (across Rampart Street from the French Quarter), where they would set up a market, sing, dance, and play music.
The tradition continued after the city became part of the US with the Louisiana Purchase.
As African music had been suppressed in the Protestant colonies and states, the weekly gatherings at Congo Square became a famous site for visitors from elsewhere in the U.S.
Because of the immigration of refugees (some bringing slaves) from the Haitian Revolution, New Orleans received thousands of additional Africans and Creoles in the early years of the 19th century.
They reinforced African traditions in the city, in music as in other areas. Many visitors were amazed at the African-style dancing and music. Observers heard the beat of the bamboulas and wail of the banzas, and saw the multitude of African dances that had survived through the years.
Brass etching and chain
1.25" x 2"
Shipping cost: $8.00
Hailing from New Orleans, Couvillion is inspired by the built environment around her and the various states of its decay, as well as the fleeting ephemera we fail to appreciate each day.
Her jewelry work comprising metal etchings of historic New Orleans maps - some dating from as early as the 1700s culled from archives - make permanent an ephemeral aspect of our city’s history. From raw sheets of metal they transform into jewelry through an intensive, handcrafted process involving heat image transfers, various etchants, patinas and polishes, as well as hammer forming, ultimately becoming small, wearable archives in suspension.
This adornment immortalizes the transitory landscapes of New Orleans’ history: from trade routes and forgotten swamps to abandoned asylums whose architectural residue still decorates the landscape today.
Ultimately, her work weaves the fabric of time with the poetics of space.
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