Introduction


    New Orleans is one of America’s most culturally unique cities. 

   Tremé, the first suburb of New Orleans was the principal residential neighborhood for free persons of color; and the oldest Black neighborhood in New Orleans and America.

Tremé is the home of Congo Square, originally called “Place de Negroes,” the central gathering place for Black’s during the era of slavery.  Tremé is the heartbeat of America-- the birthplace of Jazz. Congo Square was the epicenter of cultural, social, economic and religious practices for enslaved Africans and free people of color.  The traditions of the brass band, the secondline, voodoo and the Black masking Indians emerged from its fertile ground.  Today the neighborhood’s cultural, social, economic and political significance is still quite essential and chief when attempting to understand the culture of New Orleans specifically, the culture of the street.

    Our namesake, New Orleans cultural icon Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana, personifies a wide-range of the social significance our project represents. Black masking Indian culture was introduced to New Orleans in the mid nineteenth-century. The traditions of the Black masking Indians serve as the foundation of our historic preservation and conservation efforts.  His dedication to the city’s African American community and its traditions has gained national and international acclaim; therefore, the AMIACT is guided by the care, respect, and painstaking attention to detail that he gave in preserving, celebrating and teaching Black masking Indian traditions.

 

© Curtis Pierre 2015