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Tremé Fall Festival Celebrates a Musical Neighborhood

Revel in the culture and spirit of New Orleans’ historic and beloved Treme – all for a cause.

Treme Fall Festival
The street festival at the Tremé Fall Fest (Photo: Paul Broussard).

Did you think the arrival of fall meant packing away your festival gear? Well, think again: New Orleans has a plethora of smaller neighborhood events in the months ahead, and leading the pack is the Tremé Fall Festival.

Spanning the last weekend in September, the event kicks off with a patron party on Friday, September 29. Saturday brings a full day of music followed by an anniversary mass at St. Augustine Church on Sunday. The festival will take place near the church, at the intersection of Henriette Delille and Governor Nicholls Streets. 

Started by the Historic Faubourg Treme Association (HFTA) in 2015, the festival attracted more than 1,500 attendees in its inaugural year and raised more than $25,000 to benefit the restoration of St. Augustine Church, a cultural landmark at the heart of the street festival. Organizers Naydja and Adolph Bynum are looking forward to building on a successful first year with more varied food options and an expanded number of arts and crafts vendors.

Although it’s only in its third year, Tremé Fall Fest has all the makings of a quintessential New Orleans street festival: great music, delectable food, local arts and crafts, and a good cause behind it.

The exterior of St. Augustine Church. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Tremé’s Rich History

Tremé has the distinction of being America’s oldest African-American neighborhood settled by free people of color, and the St. Augustine Church is a treasured landmark in the area, dating back to 1841.

The neighborhood (or “faubourg” in French) is bounded by North Rampart Street, North Claiborne Avenue, St. Bernard Avenue, and Orleans Avenue. While small, the neighborhood packs a punch when it comes to cultural attractions per block: Louis Armstrong Park, the Jazz & Heritage headquarters, and the New Orleans African-American and Backstreet Cultural Museums are all within walking distance of each other. Besides attractions, the area is also famous for the wealth of talent it produces. Many of the city’s musicians, including some featured in the fest’s lineup, have strong ties to Tremé. 

With the help of the HFTA and a nearly completed adjacent streetcar line, Treme continues its rich cultural and musical traditions while also bringing new visitors to the area. Residents are working to preserve and celebrate the Treme’s rich history, as is Tremé Fall Fest.

Check out highlights of the Treme Fall Fest (most notably its music!) below. 

Musical Lineup

Take a look at this year’s lineup, packing in considerable talent over the course of eight hours. There’s a little something for everybody, from the legendary Tremé All-stars to the Hot 8 Brass Band. Sets are short, keeping the energy up and your toes tapping. And lest we forget, the best part of small festivals is foregoing your “cubes” and not having to choose between musical acts! 

Confirmed musicians for the festival include:

  • Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet
  • Waterseed
  • Gina Brown
  • Casa Samba
  • Mitchell Player’s Ella & Louis Tribute Band
  • Doreen Ketchen
  • Shaka Zulu
  • Tramps-David Darangue
  • Baby Boyz Brass Band
  • Tremé All-Stars
  • Hot 8 Brass Band

    Crafts at Treme Fall Festival. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Food, Crafts, and More

Local food vendors and family-friendly crafts will round out the fest’s offerings, along with festival merchandise. To commemorate this year’s event, Rob “Nice” Bocage created the official poster featuring a red streetcar as a nod to the much anticipated North Rampart streetcar line — a great way to recognize the area’s continuing improvements. A special presentation on Saturday will honor Benny Jones, owner and manager of the Tremé Brass Band.

Festgoers. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Giving Back

The festival not only celebrates Faubourg Tremé, it’s also dedicated to the continuing restoration of St. Augustine Church and surrounding landmarks. While the event is free, donations are encouraged. Funds raised this year will be used to continue the church’s restorations and also aide other Tremé organizations. All the more reason to donate the cost of a ticket and enjoy a weekend outdoors!

Tremé Fall Fest 2016 official poster. (Image courtesy of Rob Bocage & The Tremé Fall Fest)

Lagniappe

Can’t get enough of one day in Tremé? The festival carries over into Sunday with St. Augustine Church’s 176th Anniversary Celebration Mass at 10 a.m., officiated by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond. The church is located at 1210 Governor Nicholls St. and all are welcome.

To find out more, visit www.tremefest.com and get ready to tap your toes in Tremé!

Marianna Barry is a freelance writer and a New Orleans native. A proud Mid-Citizen, she graduated from NYU with a degree in English and a renewed respect for her hometown. She is a connoisseur of any dish involving bread and has an extensive menagerie of hot sauces. When not eating and writing, she can be found somewhere in the water along Bayou St. John.

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