Les gens de couleur libres are considered the first multiracial people in the United States, borne of an illegal but tolerated mixing between the French, Spanish, and African races of colonial Louisiana. Published by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Free People of Color & Their Legacy is a book that marries visual art and Creole history like no other. It documents José Torres-Tama’s colorful and expressionistic pastel portraits of prominent 18th and 19th century Creoles of color, who fought to dismantle the institutional prejudices of their times. His contemporary interpretation of Marie Laveau, the renowned voodoo priestess and most iconic free woman of color, graces the cover.
Funded by the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York, Creole historian Keith Weldon Medley wrote the biographical notes on each individual portrayed and a time line of New Orleans colonial history. The book documents the Ogden exhibit of the same title.