Iberville/Tremé was the home of free people of color before the end of the 18th century, and by the first half of the 19th century, they held wealth, property, and power in a complex, racially integrated society. They were builders, architects, craftsmen, merchants, and bankers. In fact, artisans whose craftsmanship was responsible for the extraordinary quality and beauty of the New Orleans built environment were centered here. It was in this neighborhood that the young Louis Armstrong delivered coal in the world-famous Storyville red light district, while Jelly Roll Morton played piano, and as he always insisted, invented jazz.
Now, residents of Iberville/Tremé celebrate it as a place where music is everywhere, the distinctive New Orleans second line parades are part of everyday life, and the community is held together by networks of friendship and extended families, some with roots six or seven generations deep. Its residents remember thriving local businesses, and a time when white and black residents lived together in relative harmony. As the home of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Iberville/Tremé is the center of Mardi Gras for the black community and the place where the downtown Mardi Gras Indians parade. It is by any measure one of the most important neighborhoods in the United States, and this transformation plan is being developed to restore, secure, and build on that heritage.