Tremé is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States’and is home to restaurants that have fueled the Civil Rights Movement and gone on to win James Beard Awards. In Tremé, you’ll find delicious New Orleans cuisine, landmarks with fascinating pasts and museums that help tell Tremé’s history.
Tremé was a plantation in the late 1700s. Hat maker and real estate developer Claude Tremé owned and subdivided this land, and in 1810 he sold it to the city of New Orleans. This new subdivision became home to several free persons of color and residents of European descent. This historic community is where many Enslaved obtained, bought, or bargained for their freedom were able to own property.
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St. Augustine Church is located on the corner of Governor Nicholls and Henriette Delille streets and was created by free Blacks in 1841.
Resting next to one of the walls of the St. Augustine Church sits a metal cross made of thick chains, and smaller crosses are planted on the ground. This is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Slave – a landmark that commemorates the lives of slaves of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.
Like many Black neighborhoods around the country, Tremé was ruined by the highway building boom in the 1950s and 1960s. This was a time when city officials ruined neighborhoods they considered to be “slum areas” to make space for highways.
With the federal government backing a majority of these projects at the time, these “urban renewal” projects displaced more than 1 million Americans, many of whom were reportedlylow-income minorities, including in New Orleans.
When Interstate 10 was built in New Orleans, the elevated expressway project wiped off many businesses in the Tremé neighborhood. Despite that, Tremé is still one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city that holds some of the best Creole architecture in the city.
There are two cultural museums, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which guides guests on a journey of Black contributions made to the City of New Orleans, as well as the Tremé’s Petit Jazz Museum.
Tremé was also one of the first 26 sites designated on the state’s Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.