Blood and Bourbon
The Tremé District
One of the smallest and oldest districts in the city is also one of the most run-down and nearly derelict come the modern nights. The area is populated almost exclusively by poor African Americans, and many of the “shotgun” houses (so named because one could theoretically fire a bullet from the front through the back) resemble their French Quarter cousins in style, but not quality. Recent efforts to clean up many of the older buildings point to a potential trend toward gentrification, but little headway has been made on that front to date. Technically speaking, only three Kindred dwell in this district in any official capacity—Baron Cimitiere, Josue Vendredi, and Father John Marrow. However, both of the older vampires have entourages of their own, and they both play host to them here more often than not.
In the 1840s, the area was located outside the city’s walls—as its name suggests, Rampart Street was the town limit at the time—and both slaves and free persons of color met in a market here called Congo Square. While the rest of America was forcing people of African descent to repress their own traditional culture, Congo Square was a place where cultural events of every kind were not only permitted but encouraged. (“Better outside the city than in,” was the motto.) Even after the wall came down and the district became an integral part of the city, something in that early tradition spoke to the African-American Kindred of New Orleans. While Baron Cimitiere plays “host” at the various gatherings that take place here from time to time, many such parties are open to all Kindred of African descent, regardless of whether or not they are in the Circle of the Crone.
• Baron Cimitiere (Samedi/Circle of the Crone, e. unknown)
• John Marrow (Nosferatu/Lancea et Sanctum, e. late 19th century)
• Malia Eliza Curry (Malkavian/Circle of the Crone, e. unknown)
• Josue Vendredi (Caitiff/Circle of the Crone, e. mid 20th century)
Sites of Interest
• Angelo Brocato’s Ice Cream Parlor: Institution since 1905 for gelato & Italian desserts in a nostalgic, pastel-pink parlor setting.
• Backstreet Cultural Museum: A modest but essential collection of the cultural traditions unique to its neighborhood: brass bands, Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs, baby dolls.
• Congo Square: Slaves and free people of color gathered here to drum, dance, and practice Vodoun rituals and eventually, many believe, give birth to jazz.
• Lil’ Dizzy’s: This local diner is a gathering place for movers, shakers, neighbors, and nobodies, as much for the neighborhood lowdown as for the divine trout Baquet.
• Louis Armstrong Park:
• New Orleans African American Museum: Protecting and promoting African-American history, set in a lovely 1820s Creole villa.
• Saint Augustine Church: Considered the first Catholic church to integrate African-Americans and whites, it was and remains the beating heart of the Tremé neighborhood.
• Saint Louis Cemetery #1: Established in the late 1700’s, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest existent cemetery in New Orleans and is still the site of several burials a year. The cemetery is the final resting place of many prominent New Orleans citizens, including the voodoo queen Marie Laveau and notoriously cruel slave owner Delphine LaLaurie.