This hall, home to La Société des Amis Inseperables de la Nouvelle Orleans (The Society of Inseperable Friends), hosted dances around the turn of the 20th century. The society, which provided medical benefits to its members into the 1930s, was organized by Creoles of color. It purchased this site in 1894 and built a new hall here in 1908. Trumpeter Sylvester Coustaut, who played with the Onward Brass Band, lived behind the building during this period.
The Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home, with its main building at 1615 St. Philip Street, bought the hall in 1961 and renovated the exterior to its current design. The funeral home has been a pillar of the Treme neighborhood for generations. Founded in 1883 by members of Myrtle Z. Labat’s family, it is now operated by Louis Charbonnet III. Though urban renewal, years of disinvestment, and the flood following Hurricane Katrina displaced many African-American from Treme, thousands still return here to celebrate traditional “homegoings” for loved ones who grew up in the area.
The Charbonnet legacy in Treme and in the music community runs deep. The Charbonnets were vocal opponents of the construction of the Interstate 10 overpass on North Claiborne Avenue in the 1960s, which ultimately destroyed blocks of tree-lined green space. Louis Charbonnet III, the current head of the funeral home, is a former state representative. He’s an advocate for local culture who opens the doors to this hall for community meetings and parties.
For more about the Treme neighborhood, click here.