Even though the development of the Treme district is credited to Claude Treme, I understand that it was his wife, Julie Moreau, a manumitted slave, who inherited the land in 1775. In the initial stages, what is now Esplanade Avenue (or part of it) was called Rue Ste. Julie in her honor. When was the name changed?
It was in 1822 that Esplanade Avenue was conceived as a European-style boulevard that would connect the Vieux Carre to the bayou and incorporate Rue Ste. Julie. But, of course, there is a story to tell.
First, I think you have your Moreaus confused. The Julie Moreau who married Claude Treme didn't inherit the property until 1794. Julie's father, Martin, was the son of Paul Moreau and Julie Prevost. Paul Moreau, also known as Don Pablo, died in 1775 and left his estate to his wife Julie Prevost. When she died in 1794, her son Martin had predeceased her. Therefore, her granddaughter — also named Julie — became the principal heir.
Claude Treme, a Frenchman, married Julie Moreau in 1793; shortly after, they inherited the property from Julie's paternal grandmother and namesake. Claude Treme's bride was certainly not a manumitted slave. In fact, in a statement testifying to Treme's character before his wedding, it was sworn "that he is a bachelor, and that Dona Julia Moro is a pure white person because her parents are of this condition, as such are all members of this family held, considered, and reputed by the general public ...".
Treme and his bride took up residence in the enormous plantation house. However, Treme wasn't planning to cultivate the plantation or run any of the factories or brickyards on the property. Instead he tried to make a private subdivision near the house.
By 1798, he had laid out several streets perpendicular to Bayou Road. Among them was Rue St. Claude, named for his patron saint. He also established Rue du Marais from present St. Philip to Bayou Road, and another street he called Ste. Julie.
That same year, Treme began selling off a few lots of his property. Many of the people who bought lots in the Faubourg Treme were free people of color, along with French and Spanish colonial settlers and recent immigrants. In some blocks, all of the lots were sold to free people of color, and many of the buyers were women. Creole cottages soon began to appear on the 60-foot lots.
In 1810, Treme sold the rest of his plantation, except for a few lots, to the city of New Orleans for $40,000. Treme then became the city's first subdivision — the earlier subdivisions of Faubourg Ste. Marie and Faubourg Marigny were private projects — and also its largest.
In 1807, an act of Congress had given the city of New Orleans title to a band of land downriver from today's Barracks Street between Rue Levee (North Peters Street) and Rue Rampart. It was referred to in early real estate advertisements as "the Esplanade of the Fort St. Charles," the old fort which stood near the site of the old U. S. Mint. In 1822, City Surveyor Joseph Pilie surveyed the entire length of the high ground of the ancient Native American portage that connected Bayou St. John with the Mississippi and named the street the "Esplanade Prolongment."
But it would be many years before the avenue became a reality. Lawsuits and hostile landowners got in the way of its completion in the 1860s.