African Americans in Louisiana
Total population
1,572,573 (2017)
Regions with significant populations
New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Monroe, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Houma-Thibodaux[1]
Southern American English, African American Vernacular English, Louisiana Creole, Louisiana French, New Orleans English
Christianity, Atheism, Louisiana Voodoo
Related ethnic groups
Black Southerners, African Americans, African Americans in France, French Americans, Louisiana Creole people, Cajuns

African Americans in Louisiana are residents of the state of Louisiana who are of African ancestry.

African slaves worked on indigo and sugarcane plantations under French colonial rule in Louisiana.[2]


Main article: History of slavery in Louisiana

The first slaves from Africa arrived in Louisiana in 1719 on the Aurore slave ship, only a year after the founding of New Orleans. Twenty-three slave ships brought black slaves to Louisiana in French Louisiana alone, almost all embarking prior to 1730.[3] Between 1723 and 1769, most African slaves imported to Louisiana were from modern-day Senegal and Congo, many thousands being imported to Louisiana from there.[4] A large number of the imported slaves from the Senegambia region were members of the Wolof and Bambara ethnic groups. Saint-Louis and Goree Island were sites where a great number of slaves destined for Louisiana departed from Africa.[5] During the Spanish control of Louisiana, between 1770 and 1803, most of the slaves still came from the Congo and the Senegambia region but they imported also more slaves from modern-day Benin.[6] Many slaves imported during this period were members of the Nago people, a Yoruba subgroup.[7]

The slaves brought with them their cultural practices, languages, and religious beliefs rooted in spirit and ancestor worship, which were key elements of Louisiana Voodoo.[6] In addition, in the late nineteenth century, many Afro-Haitians also migrated to Louisiana, contributing to the Voodoo tradition of the state.

During the American period (1804–1820), almost half of the African slaves came from the Congo.[4][8]

Before the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), African Americans comprised the majority of the population in the state, with most being enslaved and working as laborers on sugar cane and cotton plantations.[9]

African Americans left Louisiana by the tens of thousands during the Great Migration in the first half of the 20th century, seeking work and political opportunities elsewhere. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, African Americans were 31.2% of the state's population.[10]

There are six historically black colleges (HBCU) established in Louisiana. The Southern University System is the first and only HBCU college system in the country.[11]

Of all deaths from COVID-19 in 2020 African Americans in Louisiana died in greater numbers than any other racial group.[12]

Notable people

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne

See also


  1. ^ Louisiana Black Population
  2. ^ "Slavery in French Colonial Louisiana".
  3. ^ "The Arrival Of The First Africans In Louisiana".
  4. ^ a b "Louisiana: most African diversity within the United States?". Tracing African Roots (in Dutch). 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion, Volumen 2. Writing by Junius P. Rodriguez
  6. ^ a b Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo (1995). Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Louisiana State University Press. p. 58.
  7. ^ Google books: Sybil Kein (ed). 2000. Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana's Free People of Color. Louisiana State University Press.
  8. ^ "The Louisiana Slave Database". Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  9. ^ "Antebellum Louisiana: Agrarian Life". 23 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Louisiana QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". 2011. Archived from the original on January 19, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "What is the mission of an HBCU today?". 22 August 2017.
  12. ^ "African Americans in Louisiana Are Dying at an Alarming Rate During Pandemic".