NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Stories are central to our love of sports. In a new exhibition from The Historic New Orleans Collection, 20 stories feature bitter rivalries, shocking upsets and unlikely heroes and reveal how these moments are woven into the collective memory and identity of the local community.

“Crescent City Sport: Stories of Courage and Change” opens Friday, Nov. 22, and explores sporting moments since the end of the American Civil War that have mirrored or instigated broader social and economic change in New Orleans. Curator Mark Cave noticed the vital role sports have played in the city’s slow—and often reluctant—progress toward inclusivity, and how major sporting events have long been a cornerstone of the city’s tourism economy.

Locals and visitors alike will quickly recognize some of the stories, such as the epic bouts of heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, the founding of the Sugar Bowl in the midst of the Great Depression and the creation of the New Orleans Saints. The exhibition also covers horseracing, basketball, cycling, sailing, roller derby and more. Visitors will see the original Sugar Bowl trophy, a plaster cast of Sullivan’s arm, the Saints’ 2010 Super Bowl trophy and hundreds of original photographs and other objects from public and private collections throughout the community.

An opening reception will take place Friday, Nov. 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., after which “Crescent City Sport” will be on view through Sunday, March 8, 2020. Admission is free, and the exhibition is open Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free activity guides will be available for younger visitors.

“Crescent City Sport: Stories of Courage and Change” is presented by The Historic New Orleans Collection and sponsored by The Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation with additional support from Tulane University, Tulane University Athletics and Allstate Sugar Bowl, as well as Amy and Chuck Lapeyre, David P. Schulingkamp and Linda and Tommy Westfeldt II.