North Claiborne has been a staple in the Faubourg Treme community for many years. Historically, the Faubourg Treme and Claiborne Avenue served as an important African-American shopping district. The Treme neighborhood, where the Treme Market Branch is located, was one of the first suburbs to be developed outside of the Vieux Carre or French Quarters. Most of the early residents of Treme were immigrants and free people of color, including several refugees from Saint Domingue (now Haiti). The area’s rich cultural heritage and local social traditions have been passed down through generations of families, and the Treme neighborhood has managed to retain much of its distinctive character over the years.
The Treme Market Branch building, a former bank constructed in 1925 was part of a commercial district that developed around the Treme Market, an association reflected in the name of the branch. The Treme Market, initially established circa 1840, was one of 34 public markets developed by the City of New Orleans between the 1830s and 1911. The city maintained its public markets until 1946. While the primary market was the French Market in the Vieux Carre, smaller neighborhood markets were designed to meet the daily needs of nearby residents. Markets functioned as hubs of social and commercial activity, and it was quite common for other businesses such as dry goods stores and bakeries to locate in close proximity.
The commercial district of the Treme neighborhood largely clustered on Orleans and Claiborne Avenues grew because of the Treme Market. Once it was clear that a larger, new, consolidated branch was necessary to serve the Treme neighborhood, the new Treme Market Branch of the Canal-Commercial Trust and Savings Bank opened at 800 N. Claiborne on Monday, May 25, 1925. An article in the New OrleansTimes Picayune praised the building’s design, calling it “perhaps the most unique and interesting of the branch banks in the city. Once the bank closed in 1953, it was transformed into Pizzo Leather Shop. In the 1960s, Pizzo Leather was one of 132 businesses along an eight block stretch on Claiborne Avenue. After Interstate 10 dissected Claiborne Ave, only 35 businesses remained within that eight block stretch as of 2000.
Unfortunately, 800 North Claiborne became one of the vacant buildings, deserted not only by its occupants, but also by time and the economy. For over 30 years 800 N. Claiborne stood empty. We are excited to announce that Treme Market Branch has been renovated and will be available for booking September 2016.