“Treme” is coming

This Sunday HBO debuts their new series “Treme,” from “The Wire” creator David Simon. Filmed entirely in New Orleans and set three months after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, it tells the story of life and recovery in the city through the eyes of musicans and cooks. I may never have been so excited about a TV show in my life. (Okay, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Caprica” notwithstanding, and the only other good New Orleans portrayal “Frank’s Place” from the ’80s.)

Let’s watch the “Making of Treme” featurette and some clips — this first trailer actually made my scalp tingle:

If this is good as I think it’ll be, it’ll wipe the stain of “The Big Easy” from onscreen portrayals of New Orleans culture — that movie had me almost physically transforming into Ignatius Reilly at the Prytania, standing up and shrieking, “What degenerate produced this abortion?!” They’ve got local actors and local writers working on it. They got John Boutté’s “Treme Song” as the show’s theme song (which I knew was an absolute must from the moment I heard about the project; either my thought beams went out into the ether, or those folks really know what they’re doing), which means a lot of national exposure for the best singer in the city. John Goodman’s character is partially based on the late, great Ashley Morris in his passionate railing against the injustice of the greatest engineering disaster in American history. They really seem to be doing it right.

That they’re even going be mentioning, plus actually depicting and portraying, the Mardi Gras Indian culture and doing it with respect and a fair amount of accuracy is astonishing. There was a great interview on NPR this morning with David Simon actor Clarke Peters, who portrays an Indian big chief named Albert Lambreaux, in which they amusingly recount how some Indian traditions are so secret and sacred that their local paid advisors from some of the Indian gangs would keep some things close: “Oh sorry, we can’t tell you that.”

We get a feature-length premiere this Sunday. You simply must tune in.


15 Responses to ““Treme” is coming”

  1. Jill said:

    Apr 09, 10 at 5:56 pm

    That first clip had me teary. I can’t wait to see the series.

    I wrote an article about the Backstreet Cultural Museum that will show up this weekend on Tonic.com. The more people know about New Orleans culture, the better.

  2. Ben said:

    Apr 09, 10 at 8:38 pm

    So damn excited! Ordered HBO today!

  3. Norma V said:

    Apr 10, 10 at 1:12 am

    Made me cry too. Hope a British TV station buy it.

  4. bdclary said:

    Apr 10, 10 at 5:53 am

    Heard the NPR piece on the way to work yesterday. Looking forward to it, but unfortunately we don’t get HBO. Hopefully, it’ll be available through Netflix or something.

  5. Tiare said:

    Apr 10, 10 at 5:59 am

    Oh man, i feel away big time i can`t see it here. Let`s just hope they buy it in but it has gotten some attention in the media so there´s hope that i can see it at least “sometimes”

    It sure look like its going to be very good;-)

  6. zaelic said:

    Apr 13, 10 at 12:05 pm

    First episode made me feel that TV is worth watching again. And I didn’t even watch it on TV. Music, food, and Ashley Morris? I’m an outsider, but I like knowing there are folks inside!

  7. Chuck said:

    Apr 13, 10 at 5:01 pm

    Already renewed for a second season! Hooo!

  8. Shari Minton said:

    Apr 14, 10 at 10:47 am

    So, how wrong is it wrong I found myself dancing in my sofa during the premiere half the time. Swear, I couldn’t help it, it was like an instinctual reaction.

  9. Steve said:

    Apr 19, 10 at 6:33 am

    After two episodes, I have to say I really like it.If for no other reason than the music. I can also really appreciate that they have so far stayed away from schtick and stereotype; no token Boudreaux characters (& I mean that with all due respect, my wifes family being able to trace their Acadian heritage all the way back to France & all) like some other shows in recent memory.

    I think that anything that could possibly help the public realize that things are still not “up to par” (yikes! Did I just use a golf term?!?) is a good thing. I mean, I know things are better now than they were 3 months afterwards, but they still looked pretty bad in some places last week when I was there.

    Sorry, Chuck, didnt mean to ramble.

  10. . said:

    Apr 19, 10 at 8:13 am

    Treme is a minstrel show. I was going to keep watching it anyway but the end of last night’s episode was so silly I don’t think I can take anymore.

  11. Tony Harion said:

    Apr 19, 10 at 8:57 am

    Watched the premier last night. Pretty awesome, I hope they keep it up!
    Totally worked my appetite for Tales this year! I´m getting there WAY early!

  12. Steve said:

    Apr 26, 10 at 3:28 am

    Oh ye who did not leave a name or any other identifying mark; How do you figure it’s a “minstrel show”? I didn’t see anything that seemed the least bit silly, offensive or condescending at all. Just wondering if you could elaborate on your opinion.

  13. . said:

    Apr 27, 10 at 9:17 am

    Steve, I wouldn’t say the show is offensive but it is relentlessly silly. The dialogue is for the birds. In addition to lines like “Red beans and rice? It ain’t even Monday!” there’s just way too much exposition shoved into each sentence. Most of it doesn’t even advance the plot; its only purpose is to let the viewer know what “insiders” the writers are. And there’s the incessant name-dropping. “Look, it’s Trombone Shorty!” “And there’s Allan Toussaint!” And the Mardi Gras Indian subplot.

  14. Steve said:

    Apr 29, 10 at 8:10 pm

    OK, I can see that,and (thank you for replying)while I think you may very well have something there, I’m still hoping that something good comes of it! I dont have a problem with the Indian subplot though, as I dont really know a helluva lot about them, so it holds my attention (ooooh! Shiny bright things!!)for a while. Are they getting it all wrong in your opinion?

  15. Chuck said:

    May 10, 10 at 8:49 am

    You know, anyone is welcome to dislike the show for their own reasons. But using the words “minstrel show” to describe the series demonstrates a lack of understanding of what the words “minstrel show” mean, and the history of the term. (It also borders on offensive.)

    Referring to the ending of the second episode as “silly” (when in was, in my opinion, quite powerful, relevant and respecting and honoring the Indian tradition) leads me to believe that Period doesn’t understand the Mardi Gras Indian history and tradition at all. “Shallow Water” is a traditional song among the Indian gangs, and Big Chief Lambreaux’s decision to have an Indian practice anyway, in the ruins of the bar, with only one other member of the gang present, shows his determination and drive to carry on the tradition even though it might not survive — at that point very few Indians had come back home.

    I suggest you do some Googling, Period. Start here.