Faubourg-Treme: Where Past and Present Coincide has been a long-running drama about the details of the historical area in New Orleans. Faubourg-Treme is known as the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States. It is also the birth place of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, and the birthplace of jazz. During slavery, Faubourg-Treme was home to a large population of artistic flourishing free Black people. It was also known to be an area that was heated with political uproar. It was in this area that Black, white, free, enslaved, poor people, lived together, collaborated and had problems with a lot of what defines the New Orleans culture.
New Orleans was actually a French and Spanish city before it was incorporated in the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Latin and urban people have a very relaxed attitude about slavery than in the South that had plantations. In New Orleans the slaves could walk freely through the city, and could work for themselves, which ultimately led to a lot of them purchasing their own freedom. So, New Orleans was known to have the largest number of free Black people in the South. There were schools that were desegregated, and at one point, more than half of the state legislators were Black people, even the governor. Many White people viewed this as strange and troublesome.
However, with the pull back of Federal troops in 1877, the white supremacists began to take back control. The schools that were once desegregated were once again segregated. The Black people could no longer vote, and if anyone protested about it, the Ku Klux Klan got involved and lynched them. The last stand in 1892 a ‘Citizens Committee’ challenged the law re-segregating all public transportation, which began the Plessy vs. Ferguson case. It was then the Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional, legalizing 60-years of apartheid.
As one could be expected, the Black population was upset, mad, and devastated. However, during this time a new music was born in Faubourg-Treme: jazz! The music is said to have given the Black people a way to grieve, have hope and just express their feelings. By the 1950’s and 1960’s Black families who were able to continue to do well began to move out of the area. It was then the city became run down with drugs, crime and violence. However, since Hurricane Katrina the area has been cleaned up, and many of the historical history preserved such as the Louis Armstrong Park. The city is now a safe and comfortable area to reside. Today, young families with limited income can still find a great home to live in the area.