In 1998, Treme won its own historic district designation after two decades as part of the adjacent Esplanade Ridge Historic District.
Largely considered America’s oldest African-American neighborhood, Faubourg Treme was subdivided from former plantation lands in the 1790s and officially incorporated into New Orleans in 1812.¹ The L-shaped Treme Historic District covers the majority of the neighborhood and is roughly bounded by North Rampart Street, Orleans Avenue, North Broad Street, St. Bernard Avenue, and Bayou Road.² It had been under the jurisdiction of the Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC) since 1979 as part of the Esplanade Ridge Historic District, but in October 1998 the boundary lines were redrawn to give Treme proper recognition as its own historic district.³ Today, the HDLC has full control over the district between North Rampart Street and North Claiborne Avenue, and it regulates demolition and demolition by neglect only in the area above North Claiborne Avenue.⁴ Treme is also included in the National Register–listed Esplanade Ridge Historic District, which was designated in 1980.⁵
The Treme Historic District is predominantly residential in character, with mid-nineteenth-century Creole cottages and townhouses, grand historic residences along Esplanade Avenue, and numerous shotguns in a variety of architectural styles. North Claiborne Avenue historically served as the neighborhood’s primary commercial corridor. Although its physical fabric changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century, and the construction of the elevated Interstate-10 Claiborne Expressway in the 1960s severed it in two, Treme has managed to retain its distinctive cultural traditions and, since the late 1970s, has been experiencing steady reinvestment and revitalization.⁶
1. Roulhac Toledano, Mary Louise Christovich, Robin Derbes, et al, “Introduction,” in New Orleans Architecture, Volume VI: Faubourg Tremé and the Bayou Road (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 1980), xv.
2. Freddi Williams Evans, “Congo Square,” in KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson(Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010-). Article published September 16, 2013.
3. Frank Donze, “Council OKs Treme Historic District, Esplanade Ridge group says goodbye to chunk of jurisdiction,” The Times-Picayune, October 7, 1998.
4. Dominique M. Hawkins and Catherine E. Barrier, “City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission: Treme Historic District,” May 2011.
5. Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, “Esplanade Ridge Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places, June 30, 1980.
6. Adolf Bynum and June Rogers, “Tremé” (presentation, Bynum residence in coordination with Preservation Resource Center, New Orleans, March 10, 2014).