Chef Serigne Mbaye poses in front of a wall of masks, each with their own story, at Dakar NOLA in New Orleans, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. (Photo by Sophia Germer,, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Afro Freedom/Afro Feast, June 18, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For the past few years, chef Serigne Mbaye of the modern African restaurant Dakar NOLA has organized a community dinner around Juneteenth, the holiday marking the day when formerly enslaved people got word of their emancipation. Last year, he held the event in Mississippi.

This year Afro Freedom/Afro Fest is back in New Orleans at Grow Dat, the nonprofit teaching farm on a verdant stretch of City Park tucked between lagoons and a campus of sustainably designed structures. 

grow building

The nonprofit Grow Dat Youth Farm has a campus of sustainably-built structures in City Park. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

Effie Richardson, Mbaye’s partner in Dakar NOLA, said keeping the event on a farm is an important part.


Effie Richardson and chef Serigne Mbaye developed Dakar NOLA as a modern Senegalese tasting restaurant in New Orleans. (Photo by Sophia Germer,, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

“The idea is of food coming from the land, that’s what our ancestors were doing,” she said. “So we’re going there to cook and celebrate, and we want to showcase Grow Dat because we support and embrace their work.”


Grow Dat Youth Farm runs a youth development program tied to farming and environmental stewardship.

The meal will explore African American culinary roots, prepared through a collaboration of many hands. That includes Mbaye and chef Charly Pierre of the Haitian restaurant Fritai in Treme, Prince Lobo of the Ethiopian restaurant Addis NOLA on Bayou Road, chef Ndeye “Queen” Ndir of Ndindy African Cuisine in Central City, Wiggins of Café Reconcile, Guerin of Lagniappe Baking, and chef and pitmaster Greg Rosary Sr.


Turning Tables founder Touré Folkes tastes the rye whiskey from local distiller Exclave during a training session, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (Photo by Sophia Germer,, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Cocktails will be handled by Turning Tables, the New Orleans-based nonprofit working to increase equity for people of color in the bar and spirits business.

The day begins with cocktail hour at 3 p.m. and dinner at 4 p.m., to conclude at 7 p.m. Tickets are $165. Get them via

Grow Dat Youth Farm

150 Zachary Taylor Drive

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