Proceeds from Treme festival to help oldest African-American church in the city

Bill Capo talks about a local festival that will be supporting a historical church in Treme.

NEW ORLEANS -- Artist Rob Bocage unveiled the painting of Treme Wednesday that will become the poster at the Second Annual Treme Fall Festival, raising funds for historic St. Augustine Church.

"I wanted the church to be the first thing that the sun hits, because there's nothing like a Sunday morning when you see the church, and its the tallest structure that you may see in Treme," Bocage said.

The landmark church is 175 years old. Step inside St. Augustine, and you can feel the history.

"This church is the oldest African-American church in New Orleans," said New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation President Mark Romig. "We're in the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States."

Parishioners said it’s more than the history that keeps them there.

"The church itself breathes and talks to you, so you have this interaction with a spirit that welcomes you with both arms," added Lynn Burton of the St. Augustine Church Parish Council.

That spirit would also welcome a donation, because the old structure urgently needs repairs, paint is peeling, wooden floors rotting.

Just a few weeks ago, you couldn't use certain doors to exit the church because the ceiling was about to collapse. They had to do emergency repairs, but there's still so much work to be done. $1 million worth of renovations, to be exact.

"And we also need a new roof, we need electrical, we need plumbing, we need outside work done, air conditioning, heating," Burton explained.

Last year's inaugural Treme Fall Festival raised $25,000 that was used to paint most of the exterior.

"We decided to take the grills down, have them sandblasted, primed, painted, and put back," said Adolph Bynum of the Historic Faubourg Treme Association.

Treme Fall Festival October first and second will feature food booths, crafts, and musicians, many from Treme.

"Kermit Ruffins, Shannon Powell, Batiste, Glen David Andrews and more," said Naydja Bynum, festival organizer for the Historic Faubourg Treme Association.

For more information about the September 30 patron party, and the Treme Fall Festival on October first and second, visit their website at http://www.tremefest.com.

(© 2016 WWL)


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