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New Orleans Free People of Color: Portraits on Paper by José Torres Tama 

One of the unique things about ante-bellum New Orleans was its large number of gens de couleur libre, or 'free people of color." Numbering many thousands before the Civil War, they came from all over the Caribbean and were leaders among the tradesmen and entrepreneurs who built this city and contributed greatly to its distinctive arts, crafts, music and cuisine. In 2002, New Orleans and Germany-based artist José Torres Tama became so fascinated by this dynamic hybrid culture that he undertook five years of research through the Ogden Museum's 'Artist and Sense of Place" residency program. In the process, he created this series of 18 portraits of Creole trailblazers such as Rose Nicaud (pictured), founder of the first café at the French Market in the early 19th century. " D. Eric Bookhardt

Through April 13

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600; www.ogdenmuseum.com

click to enlarge art_rec-16750.jpeg

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