A taste of Treme: Neighborhood holds free three-day music festival

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The Treme community will be hosting the first ever Treme Festival this weekend. A three-day event featuring local musicians to highlight the vibrant culture of the neighborhood. 

Bryce Berman, Contributing Reporter

With the near-endless parties, events and festivals that are so unique to New Orleans, it seems unthinkable to add another to the list. Almost as unthinkable is the thought of Treme not having its own heritage fest.

This year, the Crescent City is hosting the first-ever Treme Festival. The free three-day music festival is organized by the Historic Faubourg Treme Association that celebrates the Treme neighborhood and its place in New Orleans’ culture. The celebration will take place Friday to Sunday on the streets bordering St. Augustine’s Catholic Church of New Orleans. Though the event is free, donations are encouraged to help support the church, an important community landmark.

Treme is one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods and is considered one of the oldest predominantly black neighborhoods in the country. It was home to a vibrant free slave population in the 18th and 19th centuries and was key to the birth of jazz music. The rich history and culture have created a buzzing cultural hub for black and Creole music and art.

“We bring the party and culture to New Orleans,” the HFTA president Jessica Knox said. “We are the cultural cradle for the city.”

The HFTA chose performers with ties to Treme. Jazz musicians James Andrews (who is a Treme-native), Shannon Powell and Leroy Jones are all current residents of the neighborhood. Kermit Ruffins has a local business in Treme and John Boutte wrote the iconic “Treme Song.” Other jazz performers include the Treme Brass Band, Patron Party and the Crescent City Allstars.

Treme Fest is different than past festivals in the area because it was organized by the community, for the community. It is truly a grassroots effort and aims to better the community by contributing to St. Augustine Church.

“We voted on St. Augustine because it embodies Treme’s live music culture, historic architecture and our important history that saw free people of color, Italians and many more diverse groups come together, even when it was not popular, to worship and contribute to Treme,” Knox said.

Many New Orleans venues, organizations, performers and cultural groups have already come together to put on this festival.