The Historic Faubourg Tremé Association (HFTA) will host the first annual Tremé Festival from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. The free festival will kick off an effort by the organization to raise funds for much-needed repairs and improvements to the St. Augustine Catholic Church.
“HFTA has done lots of good in this neighborhood related to quality of life issues,” said Adolph Bynum, Sr., an active member of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, and the originator of the Tremé benefit festival. “Now it’s time for us to work with keeping Tremé’s historic sites and other cultural activities alive and thriving.”
St. Augustine Church has a rich and important history in America. It was dedicated on October 9, 1842. Free people of color bought more pews for their families than any other contributors, and then bought all the pews of both side aisles. The side-aisle pews were given to slaves, who were welcomed to worship there, a first in the history of slavery in America. The mixture of pews resulted in the most integrated congregation in the United States. Shortly after the church was dedicated, Henriette Delille, a free woman of color, and Juliette Gaudin, a Cuban, knelt publicly at the alter and pledged to work for orphan girls, the uneducated, the poor, the sick, and the elderly among free people of color, starting the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, the second-oldest order of African American nuns in America. Also, a number of historical figures were members of the church, including Homer Plessy, of the famous U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy vs. Ferguson, and Alexander P. Tureaud, Sr., a giant among the civil rights attorneys of the 1960s.
The Tremé Festival will be held on the streets bordering the church, located at the corner of Henriette Delille and Gov. Nicholls Streets. The festival will feature food, crafts, and music performances by John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers, James Andrews and the Crescent City Allstars, Shannon Powell, Leroy Jones Quintet, New Breed Brass Band, Lil Glen and Backatown, and the Tremé Brass Band.
The festival will also feature a second-line procession led by Roots of Music as well as crowd-pleasers such as the Zulu Connection and the Stilt Walkers and Drummers. The festival is free and open to the public.
Families who attend the festival will enjoy the kid’s fest, a part of the festival that will offer face painting, building projects’ and entertainment. Free health screenings and tours of St. Augustine Church and the surrounding neighborhood will also be offered.
To kick off the weekend, a patron party will be held on Friday, October 2nd at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $100 and parking is available at the site.
Renowned local artist, Terrance Osborne, who has roots in Tremé, has designed and donated a limited edition poster that will be available for purchase. Proceeds collected will go to the church for repairs.
The festival will wrap up with a gospel mass 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4 at St. Augustine Church, followed by a gospel extravaganza from noon to 4 p.m. featuring St. Anna’s Gospel Choir, St. Augustine’s Choir and the Zion Harmonizers.
The Tremé Festival is made possible in part by title sponsor, Reily Foods. To learn more about HFTA, St. Augustine Catholic Church, and the Tremé Festival, or to purchase patron party tickets, Tremé Festival 2015 posters or to donate, please visit www.tremefest.com.