Festivals for You: Tremé Fall Fest

Treme Fall Fest
Image courtesy of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association via Facebook

Dancing to brass bands in the Tremé, mere feet from the stone steps of the nearly two-centuries-old African American church, sounds like a scene from a cinematic idealization of New Orleans. But for the fourth year in a row, that beautiful idea becomes concrete reality, as the Tremé Fall Festival throws a weekend-long party in the blocks connecting Henriette Delille, Tremé and Gov. Nicholls Streets — on the first weekend of October (Oct. 5-7), just as the weather is getting nice.

One of the nation’s first African American neighborhoods, the Tremé has faced some historically important changes in the years following Hurricane Katrina. This cherished neighborhood has numerous cultural destinations including the New Orleans African-American Museum (NOAMM), Backstreet Cultural Museum, Congo Square, and the oldest African-American Catholic church in the United States, historic St. Augustine Church (1210 Governor Nicholls St.).

The festival honors the unique history and heritage of the neighborhood. It was developed by the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association to benefit those cultural destinations found within the historical community of Tremé. The organization has been instrumental in the fight to preserve the culture, music, food, and architecture of this unique historic neighborhood. Proceeds from last year’s Tremé Fall Fest benefited St. Augustine Church and the Tomb of the Unknown Slave.

The free, donation-based festival begins on Saturday, October 5, with arts and craft vendors, face painting, free health screenings, tours of St. Augustine Church, and, of course, entertainment from New Orleans musical royalty. Tremé is famous for its music, with the annual festival lineup to match. Tremé All Stars, Olympia Brass Band, John Boutte, Hot 8 Brass Band, and Dwayne Dopsie & Zydeco Hellraisers are all scheduled to perform.

No New Orleans fest is complete without delicious food, and food trucks and vendors from some of New Orleans’ best eateries will be on hand all weekend long, so bring your appetite.

A patron party will also take place on Saturday, October 5, 6-9 p.m., at the New Orleans Jazz Festival’s George & Joyce Wein Jazz Center (1225 N. Rampart St.). The event will honor Ms. Leah Chase of the Dooky Chase’s Restaurant fame, the “Queen of Creole cuisine” and the grand dame of local restauranteurs. Tickets range from $100 online to $125 at the door (you can get tickets in advance here).

The Tremé Fall Festival closes out on Sunday, Oct. 7, at St. Augustine Church, beginning with a gospel mass at 10 a.m. and followed by free concerts from noon to 3 p.m.

All weekend long, you’ll find most of the action in front of St. Augustine Church on the 1100 block of Henriette Delille Street. Festival-goers are welcome to bring chairs and blankets and set up picnics.

Free parking is available at Armstrong Park via the St. Phillip St. entrance, as well as along N. Rampart St. and many other sites throughout the neighborhood. Of course, you can also bike to the event or ride the Rampart-St. Claude Ave. streetcar line.

Get more info and updates at the event’s site and Facebook page.