The people of African heritage who gathered in Congo Square on Sunday afternoons reflected the Black population of the city, and that population represented the people that slave traders brought to Louisiana. Among them were people of numerous ethnic origins from a variety of regions in West and West Central Africa. The research of Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall identifies those ethnicities in Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century and Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas.
After 1808, with a ban on the international slave trade, also referred to as the Atlantic slave trade, and the increased domestic slave trade, increasingly so, the enslaved people brought to the city had been born in the US.
What resulted in New Orleans, as well as in Congo Square, was a population of African descendants that grew in numbers as well as diversity, which influenced the cultural practices that existed there. Among the gatherers were people from different social and labor categories, including some who worked in the fields, some who worked as domestics, some who were hired-out for labor and some who had received their freedom.
Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo. Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992.
___. “Myths About Creole Culture in Louisiana.” Louisiana Cultural Vistas 12 (Summer 2001): 79-85.
___. Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Rothman, Joshua. The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America. New York: Basic Books, 2021.