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Emile J. LaBranche Jr. Interview, Part 1
LaBranche Jr., Emile J.
Cramer, Cheryl Q.W.
Topics Include: Businesses in Treme, Treme lifestyle, jazz bands and parades, musical influence. association with Treme area, clubs, benevolent associations, music in family life
LaBranche has a lifelong association with the Tremé area. He was born on N. Claiborne Ave and he and his family lived above the drug store that his father owned. He worked there as a child and it operated until his father died in 1970. As a child he played in the street and skated in the neighborhood with friends. He defines the Tremé boundaries as from St. Louis Street to Esplanade Avenue and from Claiborne Avenue to St. Claude Avenue. He now thinks those boundaries have become broader. LaBranche goes on to list a multitude of businesses in the area including the Tremé market, which extended for two blocks selling meat, fruit, and vegetables. It was owned by a black entrepreneur and they also had fresh chickens. Other businesses included drug stores, a dry goods store, a bicycle shop selling bikes for two people, a batter shop for cards, a shoe store, a department store, a bakery, a hardware store, a doctor's office, a furniture store, a few banks, a shoeshine parlor, a fire station, a restaurant, a bar, a pie shop, a barber, a coffee shop, a fabric store, a grocery store, and a chicken and dog feed store. Black-owned businesses included barber shops, a shoe shine, a mattress store, an insurance company, a few doctors, a beauty parlor, and a dentist. There was also a junk area which covered an entire street full of junk. At 22:10 he mentions the clubs that he remembers. He said people would rent out these clubs for dances and meetings. They were also the headquarters for the Jazz bands, school parties were held there, dances, and club affairs. He then mentions the over 50 benevolent associations that were formed by groups of friends, clubs, or church people that met monthly. These included only female, only male, and co-ed organizations. He remembers that every Sunday there was a Jazz band that played on the back of a truck. They would stop on the corners of the neighborhood so people could enjoy their music and dance in the street. There was also an annual parade with Jazz bands and second-line clubs. Claiborne Ave. was famous for these parades. At 30:45 he begins discussing music in his family life. Like everyone else, he went to go listen to the Jazz bands on the truck every Sunday, and he thinks all kids are very influenced by music in the Tremé district.
Amistad Research Center
Box 1, Item 7, Side 1, Treme Oral History Project collection, 1993-1994, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.