Photo Blog: Tremé Today & the Claiborne Expressway

Tremé is one of the oldest and most central neighborhoods of New Orleans. In its early history, it was a popular destination for immigrants and free people of color. It remains a distinguished corridor of African-American culture and identity.

Like many large American cities in the 1960s, an elevated expressway was forced through the middle of this New Orlean's neighborhood, towering over the adjacent Claiborne Avenue. Today, the future of this infrastructure is questioned. CNU is currently advocating for the removal of I-10/Claiborne Expressway, through its Highways to Boulevards initiative. I recently traveled to New Orleans and toured the corridor, snapping a few photographs that I hope provide readers with additional context of the neighborhoods that have had to live with the expressway in their backyard for five decades.

Tremé is a historic neighborhood with a strong community identity.

The Claiborne Expressway is audible, visible and imposing from adjacent streets.

Claiborne Avenue, the surface street that parrelles the elevated expressway, is still heavily used by residents.

A lot of underused space under the expressway. The wide structure is a foreboding barrier.

Meeting points, festivals, markets, and parking all take place on the underside of the expressway.

The painted pylons are a way to remind Tremé's identity, history and hope, part of the "Restore the Oaks" project.

The expressway ramps consume a lot of space. One of the current alternatives being studied is not the removal of the expresssway, but the removal of many of its ramps. See more at

Mentioned as "the bridge" by many residents, the expressway is a barrier in the neighborhood.

Very few oak trees remain where it used to be a green pathway. The oak trees in the center of Claiborne Avenue were clearcut to make room for the expressway.

Some lament that the expressway cataylzed disinvestment in the Tremé neighborhood. Some fear that removal of the expressway will lead to the wrong kind of reinvestment, the types that do not take residents' needs and desires into consideration.


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