Alexis Pazoumian Faubourg Tremé: Spirit of New Orleans

“Over ten years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the project “Faubourg Tremé” focuses on the daily life of the population living in one of the most legendary and historical districts of New Orleans. When it comes to African-American culture in the city, Tremé lies at the heart.

Each Sunday, In historical times, the slaves would gather in the neigborhood’s center, ”Congo Square,” and dance to the rhythm of the percussion from their long-lost, distant homelands. Later on, the “Creoles of color,” (freed blacks) would regularly put together brass concerts on the very same Square. Without knowing it, they were establishing the foundations of what would become one of the world’s most fertile music genres: jazz.

Recently, I decided to go back to Tremé in order to observe the daily life of the district’s contemporary inhabitants. I also went back 10 years after the Katrina disaster, curious to see what remained. I discovered that despite everything which had happened, music never left the city. Instead it permeates all the aspects of local culture, blending into every facet of the city’s life: religion, education, tradition, bars and in the very streets themselves.

Over several separate visits to the city, I worked on different topics in order to understand how to work with this city and its unique population. Over time, I saw firsthand how music was and remains the people’s principle remedy against the bitterness and challenges of life.

This project aims to study the traditions and perseverance of these people who, after Katrina, were abandoned and left aside by all. It is a penetrating look at these men and women who continue to survive and thrive thanks to the sound of brass.

I hope my pictures convey the beauty of exaltation and fervor triggered by the eternal rhythms of New Orleans music”. – Alexis Pazoumian

Faubourg Tremé is available on Pre-order. Discover more of Alexi’s work here: Alexis Pazoumian