The birthplace of jazz. Home of Congo Square. Home of Mardi Gras Indian culture. Home of the brass band. Oldest African-American neighborhood in the U.S. These are just a few reasons why Tremé is one of the most celebrated neighborhoods in New Orleans, all honored by the annual Tremé Culture Fest (Oct. 17-19).
Known by some as the “soul” of New Orleans, Tremé gave rise to so many cultural hallmarks throughout New Orleans’ rich and vibrant history, from music and architecture to historic social groups and the modern and post-antebellum civil rights movements. Each year, to celebrate the people, spirit, traditions and accomplishments of this neighborhood, Tremé Culture Fest hosts a variety of events and activities for both locals and visitors to partake in to enrich their understanding of this pocket of New Orleans.
On the first two days of the fest, speakers host a two-part lecture series at the Tremé Community Center. The series explores various facets of New Orleans life, history and culture, such as community members sharing memories and experiences of growing up in Tremé and how those experiences shaped them into who they are today.
Art and service play other key roles in the festival. The Tremé Culture Fest Gallery and Exhibits are hosted at various locations throughout the neighborhood. On Saturday, the fest holds a Day of Service where participants volunteer at different locations throughout the neighborhood, such as the Tremé Community Garden or the Clark High School Beautification Project. All fest attendees can join together in this Day of Service to be a part of the preservation and rebuilding of this landmark neighborhood.
Finally, what would a New Orleans festival be without a heavy dose of music and celebration? Friday kicks off the evening fun with a neighborhood stroll and bar hop where neighborhood historians and scholars lead attendees on a guided tour of the community while pointing out sites of interest and enjoying food, drinks and neighborhood hospitality along the way.
On Saturday, Music from the Streets features many different local brass bands and other musical groups who perform on street corners at staggered times throughout the afternoon. Then on Sunday, there’s a traditional jazz mass at noon at St. Augustine Church followed by the Tremé United All-Woman Second Line, a gathering of competing Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs that attracts thousands of followers for miles.
Tremé stretches from N Broad St to N Rampart St and from Esplanade Ave to St. Louis St, just outside the Mid-City neighborhood. If you are staying uptown, hop on the St. Charles streetcar down to the Canal streetcar, and take it down to Orleans Ave for a quick stroll over to this historic neighborhood celebration, where you can take an authentic New Orleans experience back home with you.