Welcome to New Orleans.
We at McKenna Publishing Company, The New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, along with the advertisers in this publication want to ensure that your visit to our city is a special one. But on an even deeper level, we hope that this publication will inspire conscious consumerism on your part, thus leaving our Black-owned businesses stronger because of your visit here.
We have been told that our directory of African-American-owned businesses and services has been well received because it directs those unfamiliar with our city to the culturally-specific experiences that African Americans from across the country are increasingly looking for while undergirding the economy in the Black community.
Hold up! A tourist guide for Black people? Yes, indeed, it is—without apology and without question. Welcome is designed by us, about us and for us. Do know, however, that you hopefully will be welcomed at most of the businesses in our city so do feel free to explore and visit all of them, especially those businesses that have indicated that they value your patronage by advertising in this guide.
But if you are like us, you will be looking for authentic “heritage” tours and other kinds of activities, meals and products that relate specifically to our people, our history and the African retentions so impactful in making New Orleans the cultural gem that it has become today.
And this is where the Welcome magazine comes in. Keep it close at hand for the duration of your stay; refer to it as you set about exploring the city; be sure to patronize the businesses highlighted herein; and finally, don’t forget to tell the business owners that we sent you. They will appreciate the concerted effort to ensure that some of the $9 billion tourism dollars that enter this economy annually are finally making their way to African-American owned business and the authentic culture bearers who work hard to preserve our history and our culture.
REVISITING THE GREEN BOOK: THE COLOR OF MONEY
It is with intentionality that our cover for this year’s Welcome is green in color.
With the release of the movie “The Green Book” in late 2018 and all of the talk surrounding its history, we decided to borrow both the color and the concept to demonstrate where we have come from as a country in the last 60 or so years.
I grew up in the era of the Green Book. My parents were big on family vacations and road trips, and I will never forget when they would load my sisters and me in the car complete with packed lunches that included fried chicken, fresh fruit, cold drinks, and other delights. Before I get lost in the nostalgia, I recognize that packing the food was because we as Black people couldn’t stop at just any roadside outlet without questioning whether we would be served or without fear for our safety. So armed with the Green Book, an essential guide for Blacks traveling America during the Jim Crow era, my father would navigate our family through segregated towns, looking for a safe place for us to settle in before sundown.
The last Green Book was published in 1966—two years after the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. As such, it occurred to me that so many others—the several generations that have followed—are unaware of this history. They needed to be reminded of the importance of us, these 60 years later, directing our money and our financial support to African American owned establishments, those places that served us when no one else would.
I guess that is the reason why we approach our Welcome magazine and its appeal to you our visitors with such a sense of urgency and responsibility; it is for the memories and struggles of those who have gone before and the struggles that still follow us.
We ask that you join us in our mission by supporting with your dollars and patronage the African American owned and operated businesses listed in this publication. Let’s be about building our community and supporting our businesses everywhere we go.