Juneteenth is the federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in a reluctant community. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the enslaved people that President Abraham Lincoln had freed them two years earlier.

Southwest Louisiana celebrates Juneteenth with an annual four-day festival hosted by The SWLA Center for Health Services. This year, enjoy delicious BBQ and sauce cookoffs, musical and spoken word performances, a parade, and more all leading up to beautiful fireworks over Lake Charles.


Friday, June 14

The celebration begins at the Lake Charles Event Center on Friday, June 14, from 4 to 9 PM. Enjoy the 6th Annual Movie Under the Stars with a showing of  Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. Bring your lawn chairs and a blanket and set up on the lawn of the Amphitheater—there are no bad seats! Be sure to get delicious treats and trinkets from the food trucks and vendors set up on site.

Movies Under the Stars at Prien Lake Park in Lake Charles
Head to the Event Center Amphitheater for a special showing of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Saturday, June 15


Saturday is the Juneteenth Festival Day at the Lake Charles Event Center. Gates open at 8 AM, and the 2nd Annual BBQ Cook-Off begins! 

While you're waiting on the BBQ, head out early and secure the perfect spot for the Juneteenth Parade. The route starts at 10 AM pulling out of the Lake Charles Event Center and travels down Broad St and surrounding roads.

After the parade, the Juneteenth Vendor Pop-Up Shop opens at 11 AM inside the Event Center. Shoppers can choose from a selection of art, music, clothing, and jewelry vendors as well as popular food trucks. This year several competition dance teams will grace the stage. We'll also meet the 2024 Juneteenth royalty during the presentation of the Juneteenth Queens. This accomplished group will represent the festival at various events throughout the year.

Other performances include poet Ashley Montegut, violinist Jairus Daigle, and smooth jazz saxophonist Jeremy Benoit. The Juneteenth 2024 celebration continues with Zydeco artist Harold Guillory and R&B vocalist Nebu Nezey leading up to headliner Jarvis Jacob and the Gents.


Sunday, June 16

Join the congregation of Mount Olive Baptist Church for a morning of praise and worship at the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Worship Service, starting at 10 AM. The church is located at 3007 Enterprise Boulevard.


Wednesday, June 19

Senior citizens can start the day at the inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Festival Senior Bingo for a chance to win prizes. The fun starts at 9:30 AM at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center located at 2009 North Simmons Street.

The Juneteenth Family Day starts at 1 PM at the KPC Hall at 2526 Opelousas Street. Bring your appetite for the sauce cook-off hosted by Circle 7. Sauce, a beloved southern comfort meal, is comprised of various types of meat like chicken, sausage, or duck cooked down in a gravy. Other activities include performances, a Kids Zone, and a voter registration drive for locals, and delicious food trucks. Rusty Metoyer and the Zydeco Krush will keep you grooving until the party concludes at 7 PM.

As the sun sets, head over to the Lake Charles Event Center for a breathtaking fireworks show over the lakefront to conclude the festival.

Black Heritage Gallery
Browse artwork and traveling exhibits at the Black Heritage Gallery on the second floor of 1911 Historic City Hall.

Celebrate Diversity at Black-Owned Businesses

Celebrate freedom and honor diversity year-round by supporting Black-Owned businesses in Southwest Louisiana. Enjoy delicious Creole cooking and soul food from restaurants like Mama Reta's and Leonard's Food Quarters. Get on the dance floor to the toe-tapping sounds of Zydeco, country, soul, and R&B artists during weekly events at The M Bar.

Let Biking Through the Lake take you on a guided tour through downtown Lake Charles complete with karaoke! Tap into your artistic side by taking a class at the Creative Corner or view the traveling exhibits from African American artists at the Black Heritage Gallery located in 1911 Historic City Hall.

For more festivals and cultural celebrations in Southwest Louisiana view our annual festivals calendar. Check out our event calendar for more ways to play in Louisiana's Playground.