The decor of the Butler-Greenwood plantation parlor is exquisite. But as University of New Orleans historian Mary Niall Mitchell will discuss during a lecture at the New Orleans Museum of Art on Oct. 2, that decor is closely intertwined with the lives of central Louisiana's enslaved.
Mitchell, the Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Chair in New Orleans Studies and an associate professor of history, will deliver a lecture titled "Slavery in the Parlor," at 6 p.m. It comes in conjunction with the museum's exhibit, A Louisiana Parlor: Antebellum Taste & Context, which features the Butler-Greenwood Plantation parlor furnishings acquired by the museum from descendants of the family in St. Francisville.
The parlor suite originates in the 1850s and 1860s and has survived with original textiles and rich documentation, making it one of the South’s best preserved examples of a pre-Civil War Louisiana interior.
Mitchell's talk is part of NOMA's ongoing Friday Nights at NOMA series. The exhibit is on view through Oct. 11 at the museum, One Collins C. Diboll Circle in City Park.
Mitchell is the Joseph Tregle Professor in Early American History at UNO and the author of "Raising Freedom’s Child: Black Children and Visions of the Future After Slavery" (NYU Press, 2008). Her latest book project, "The Slave Girl in the Archive," is a study of race, photography, slavery and memory in the 19th century.