Review: Tremé festival contributes lively culture not found Uptown


Megan Garcia, Intersections Editor

The fifth annual Tremé Fall Festival took place last weekend on Oct. 5 at St. Augustine Catholic Church, known for being New Orleans’ oldest African American church. 

The festival celebrates the rich aspects of food, clothing and music that encompass the culture and history of the Tremé neighborhood. Hosted by the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, Tremé Fall Festival is a free admission event, but donations are welcome. Donations benefit St. Augustine Catholic Church and the Tomb of the Unknown Slave located there. 

When I first walked into the area where the festival was being held, the word that came to my mind was “community.” It seemed that people from all corners of New Orleans came out to support each other at this somewhat small, but mighty, festival.

Smells of jerk chicken, beignets and jambalaya filled my nose as I walked through the different tables set up throughout the two streets. A woman was standing on the street corner selling homemade soap with oils of patchouli, hemp and peppermint. A bounce house and arts and crafts were set up for children to enjoy themselves as well. 

Crocheted dresses, skirts and shirts filled the tents of some of the art vendors at Tremé. Wooden sculptures resembling the shape of the beloved state of Louisiana hung at other tents, and handmade jewelry was displayed at even more.

Tremé is one of New Orleans’ most intriguing neighborhoods. It was named for real estate developer Claude Tremé, who eventually sold most of the land. Free people of color were able to obtain land in this neighborhood during the 18th and 19th centuries even as much of America remained governed by discriminatory property laws that restricted where people of color could live.

All throughout the evening, music flowed from the stage on the lawn of St. Augustine Church. The music played from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with 14 artists performing. People were singing, dancing or relaxing and enjoying the music in each other’s company.

Sitting on the grass listening to music, I realized the band we were listening to was an all-woman jazz band. Not only that  these women were some of the best musicians I have seen live.

Later, I found out the band playing was Brown Sugar featuring Jaz Butler. The band consisted of two bass players, a keyboardist, a percussionist, a drummer, a saxophonist and a lead guitarist. Being a bass player myself, I know how rare it is to see other women in the music industry that play the bass, let alone two bass players in one band!

Going to the festival for the first time, I remembered how important it is to immerse yourself in New Orleans culture and get off campus. As we all know, Tulane does not represent what New Orleans truly is. 

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