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Originally known as the “back of town”, Tremé is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans. Tremé, often referred to as Faubourg Tremé, is an important focal point in African-American and Creole culture, housing jazz clubs and soul food spots. It is considered a place where heritage is celebrated and honored every day.
Tremé began as a plantation in the 1700’s. By 1810, its owner, Claude Tremé, subdivided this land and then sold it to the City of New Orleans, allowing several free people of color and those of European descent to claim this land as their home. The city designated a portion of the land as a place for residents to gather, play music, and sell goods. This place of cultural incubation later gained the name of Congo Square. Tremé is the home of some of the historically richest Creole architecture throughout the whole city of New Orleans. The vibrant colored cottages date back as early as the 1830’s, the townhouses were built soon after in the 1840’s, and the more recent shotgun houses were formed in the 1890’s.
Not only the home of historic housing, Tremé features two well-known green spaces. Louis Armstrong Park sits on 32-acres and features the statues of several musical icons, including its namesake Louis Armstrong and Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Montana. It is in Louis Armstrong Park that visitors can find the original site of the famous Congo Square. A 2.6-mile bicycle and walking trail by the name of Lafitte Greenway can also be found in Tremé, nearly spanning the whole neighborhood and featuring over 500 trees as well as several open fields.
Unfortunately, Tremé suffered from damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but like most neighborhoods in New Orleans, it refused to admit defeat. Tremé and other older neighborhoods showcased that their strength lies in their infrastructure and higher ground levels. Day by day, it returns to its original beauty and popularity, becoming an example of survival. Today, Tremé spans over roughly 150 square blocks and an estimated 4,155 individuals live there.
St. Augustine Church
The St. Augustine Church that was found in 1841 by free people of color can also be found in Tremé, resulting in it being the home of one of the oldest African-American Catholic parishes in the nation. This church was designed by J.N.B de Pouilly, who had to opportunity to assist with the rebuilding and expansion of the famous St. Louis Cathedral located in the well-known French Quarter. It features The Tomb of the Unknown Slave, a monument for the many nameless or forgotten salves that passed away before emancipation.
The interior design featured inside St. Augustine can be considered one of its most historical notable features. The pew date back to the mid-nineteenth century, and the main altar is centuries-old and made of pink Italian marble. Above the alter, a skylight in the shape of the “eye of God” Egyptian symbol can be found. The ten stained glass windows seen within the church were imported from France and feature five male saints and five female saints respectively. While the church does feature electronic bells, St. Augustine also houses three bells that were cast in 1883 and purchased in 1894.
New Orleans African American Museum
While exploring Tremé, visitors can stop by The New Orleans African American Museum of Art, History, and Culture (NOAAM). This museum was founded in 1996 and dedicated to protecting, preserving, and promoting of African-Americans in New Orleans through education, art, and communities. Visitors can observe traditional African collections, including beadwork, costumes, masks, and textiles. While the museum does feature permanent exhibits, other exhibits are subject to change regularly.
Guests have the option to visit five restored buildings. One of these buildings includes the Meilleur-Goldthwaite House, a perfect example of popular Creole architecture. While the museum’s main operation is located in the administrative building, NOAAM hopes to eventually reopen the whole historic campus. Since its reopening in 2019, NOAAM has seen over 4,000 guests and hosted 45 events.
Take a Trip to Tremé
Experience first-hand what keeps not only tourists but also locals continuously coming back to Tremé. Immerse yourself in the sound and breathtaking views that makes New Orleans culture so unique. Cajun Encounters is dedicated to showing enthusiastic guests the best of what New Orleans has to offer from the comfort of climate-controlled buses. Guests can learn more about the City of New Orleans, including Tremé, from certified tour guides, ensuring historically accurate and educational information with an entertaining twist.
Cajun Encounters City Bus Tours offers tours at three different times of day. The morning tour includes daily pick ups at 8:30 am and offers guests a look into the historic city, including the experience of coffee and beignets for breakfast. The mid-day tour begins at 11:15 am daily and offers a complete city tour, including a drive through the 9th ward. The afternoon tour begins daily pick ups at 2:30 pm and offers a full city tour, lasting for two and a half hours.
Guests can travel down New Orleans’ most well-known neighborhoods, including Tremé and the Garden District, while seeing famous attractions like Café Du Monde, the St. Louis Cathedral and Cemetery No. 1, and the World War II Museum. Those hoping to learn more about the history of New Orleans can view the famous St. Charles Avenue Street Cars, beautiful Antebellum Mansions, and the mighty Mississippi River. Routes include stops that allow guests to have a closer look at certain locations.
To ensure guests’ safety during these trying times, tour sizes are limited and tour times are reduced to allow for proper disinfection between tours. High-touch surfaces, such as seats and railings, are sanitized multiple times per day. Hand sanitizer is provided on location, and masks are worn by each staff member and are available for guests who wish to wear one.