Plessy v Ferguson Plaque

Faubourg Marigny & Bywater

This plaque marks the site where Homer Plessy, in a carefully orchestrated act of civil disobedience, tried to board a whites-only train car. That action led to the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson trial, which legalized segregation under the ‘separate but equal’ rationale. The plaque was unveiled by Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson, descendants of the opposing parties in the original trial, now fast friends.

Plessy, it should be noted, was one-eighth African American, and in the eyes of most 21st-century observers, would have been considered 'white.' But under the segregation laws of the time, he was still subject to 2nd-class seating based on his race. Indeed, it was Plessy's distinct racial identity – of white appearance, but of mixed heritage – that allowed him to challenge the policy of unequal treatment based on racial identity.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Faubourg Marigny & Bywater attractions

1. Press Street Gardens

0.09 MILES

The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts runs this plot of land as part of its culinary education program. You'll find wandering chickens, placid goats…

2. Clouet Gardens

0.18 MILES

This formerly empty lot has been transformed by its Bywater neighbors into a neat little park filled with murals and generally appealing weirdness…

3. Markey Park

0.37 MILES

This small green space has a playground. It's a popular spot for Bywater families, and a good place to let younger kids run off some energy, especially…

4. Healing Center

0.39 MILES

The bright-orange Healing Center is a sort of warehouse of all things organic, spiritual, New Age and consciousness-raising. Inside, you'll find yoga…

5. Crescent Park

0.39 MILES

This waterfront park is our favorite spot in the city for taking in the Mississippi. Enter over the enormous arch at Piety and Chartres Sts, or at the…

6. Washington Square Park

0.52 MILES

Also known as ‘Marigny Green,' this park is a popular spot for locals to play with their dogs, toss Frisbees and, based on the frequent smell, smoke…

7. Art Garden

0.55 MILES

Art Garden is an arts-bazaar space filled with painters working on their projects while you shop. It's a good spot to find unique or limited-edition work…

8. Palace Market

0.55 MILES

Independent artists and artisans line this alleyway market, which has built a reputation as one of the better spots in town to find a unique gift to take…