“Treme” Explained, Episode 6: “Shallow Water, Oh Mama”

I’m going to start linking to Dave Walker’s columns explaining all the references in “Treme” episodes on a weekly basis now, plus other interesting tidbits I find. Here’s the one for this past Sunday’s episode 6, “Shallow Water, Oh Mama” … a few excerpts:

The title of Sunday’s episode, “Shallow Water, Oh Mama,” is a traditional Mardi Gras Indian call-and-response chant first recorded in 1988 by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, according to this 2003 essay by John Sinclair.

The banjo player and bandleader is Don Vappie.

The song Don’s performing in his first scene, “Salée, Dames” is on his album Creole Blues as well as my Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol’ Box of New Orleans set.

The band playing in baggage claim of Louis Armstrong International Airport was a program organized by the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.

“In December 2005 the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation created our own version of the WPA, believing (as we still do) that for New Orleans musicians a vital mental health initiative is to be paid to perform, and for our community, hearing New Orleans music is the heartbeat of our recovery,” says Bethany Bultman, director of the foundation. “We wanted to make sure that when donors gave us money, it would go into the pockets of those musicians struggling to keep the music alive, not sit in the bank. $100 per musician per gig seemed like the most equitable way to distribute donations.”

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews also plays trumpet.

The Lake Charles cop who walks Toni to the abandoned NOPD patrol car is Don Yesso, who played kitchen assistant Shorty La Roux in “Frank’s Place.” Yesso got his start as an actor when he met “Frank’s Place” co-creator Hugh Wilson on an airplane. His credits since then include “My Two Dads,” “Guarding Tess,” “Dudley Do-Right,” “K-Ville” and “The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans.”

It had been so long since I’d seen Don Yesso in anything that I didn’t recognize him at first, but I was struck by his voice. I thought that that cop sounded much more Yat than Lake Charles.

Davis McAlary salutes college professor and New Orleans blogger Ashley Morris, on whom John Goodman’s Creighton Bernette character is loosely based, during the concluding Krewe du Vieux sequence. For the 2006 parade re-created in this episode, Morris dressed as a street mime and rode on a float themed as a plea to France to buy New Orleans back. Pictures of the 2006 parade, including one of Morris as the character he called Mime-boy. Morris’ post about the parade. An account about what it was like to re-create the parade for “Treme.”

Photo of Ashley Morris by emily, http://www.flickr.com/photos/79977933@N00/

Photo of Ashley Morris by emily, http://www.flickr.com/photos/79977933@N00/

Oh, and Blue Plate mynez on the Bernettes’ table!


One Response to ““Treme” Explained, Episode 6: “Shallow Water, Oh Mama””

  1. Tiare said:

    May 19, 10 at 3:08 pm

    One thing i like so much about your posts is that they are so well written down to the details.

    And Treme keeps unfolding..i can`t wait to see what happens next. The acting is really good. But i fear what gonna happen to Annie.