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Jerry Haynes Interview, Part 1
Cramer, Cheryl Q.W.
Topics Include: preservation of culture for future generations, jazz, importance of music
Haynes lived in Tremé for 26 years and is now a community political activist and organizer. She still considers herself a part of Tremé although she doesn't live there anymore. One of her actions as an activist includes marching to preserve Armstrong Park. When she thinks of Tremé, she thinks of second-line bands, family, parades, getting together for a good time, music, people coming and going, and Jazz. She mentions a club that was torn down in the 1950s and she can't understand the reason behind tearing it down. She defines the boundaries of Tremé as being Broad St. and Orleans Avenue where many of the parades were, and Claiborne Ave. She mentions a red-light district and how many famous musicians came out of the Tremé neighborhood. She describes it as truly black music. Jazz was the only thing she knew as a child because they didn't have a radio, so they just heard the music from outside. She says this enriched the community and culture in Tremé. Haynes says that on Claiborne Avenue there used to be night clubs but now the area is dead. As far as music in her family, it was a huge deal. She played the clarinet and sang herself, and her daughter now sings in a choir. Her three sons play in bands and her mother used to play ragtime piano. She describes this sound as beautiful notes. Two of her uncles played the trumpet and one played drums. She remembers the vegetable men on wagons selling mustard greens, and her family living off of them. They would sing from their wagons saying, "I've got watermelon" and things of the sort. Jazz is Haynes' favorite type of music because that is what she grew up with. She says it is soul-searching music and there is no area better at Jazz, second-line bands, or music in general than Tremé. Her family was Catholic and went to church. They would play lackluster Latin music according to her, but then changed a few years ago, and now you feel uplifted when you leave church. She didn't enjoy the Latin music because it wasn't their culture and she didn't know anything about it. She says the whole community embraced the second-line and looked forward to parades. This is truly what Tremé is. She says the Mardi Gras Indians all assembled in the Tremé area, and on Mardi Gras day it was an unbelievable sight on Claiborne Avenue to watch them. Her cousins were original Mardi Gras Indians. She also talks about Jazz funerals. They would start at the funeral home and were more somber years ago compared to now, she says. She thinks that children should learn about Jazz because it is the root of where they come from, and she fears losing the sound. Her son has a book called "The History of Jazz", but she says that there is no credit to Tremé in the book. She wishes to preserve Claiborne Avenue, the black businesses, and bring back the Jazz to educate future generations.
CultureMusicMourning customsFuneral serviceMardi Gras IndiansNeighborhoods
Amistad Research Center; Tulane University Digital Library
Box 1, Item 5, 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.