It’s Open Thread. And how the hell does anybody come back from that?
A brilliant finish. Simon and Overmyer wrote a perfect coda-just-in-case into the end of the extended Episode 10. If we all had to talk away today and hang up our trombones no one could say that Treme failed to capture postdiluvian New Orleans’ soul with its devilish cameras.
T-shirt ref: Classwhore
I will have to watch that episode again. So much was packed into it but it never felt forced.
Some great lines, some great situations. Colston asking Sofia, “How’s Florida?” was priceless. I also liked that the shot of Colston and Toni on the porch hearkened back to the nearly identical scene shot with Creighton, only there were no cop cars slowly going down the street.
Hidalgo remains unredeemed as he stares incredulously at Delmond holding the returned consulting check. “Who returns a consulting check? Seriously?”
I have to say the wedding took me by surprise completely.
Everything hung together and I’ll tell ya I wish I’d been an extra for the Bones rule the World scene.
So much to say about this episode, but how could you not smile knowing that Albert is still sewing?
More tomorrow after I’ve seen it again. In an interview with Wired magazine this week, Mr. Simon said regarding the abbreviated Season 4 (or Season 3.5 as he calls it), ” I don’t think it’s a lie to say that we’re looking at 10 pounds of shit in a 5-pound bag because we have five episodes and that just is what it is.” If the writing of the dialogue is as tight as it was for this episode, and if the narrative has the same sense of acceleration that you feel when riding in a really fast car with a big dumb grin on your face, then I think in the end he’ll have to change his mind about his scatalogical reference. This episode moved forward and covered a lot of ground without my ever feeling like I was being pushed or jarred. It was smooth as a Cadillac and elegant as the fins on the back. Best of all I never saw the tail lights.
So very well put, Sam. There is so much to love about this episode. It was great.
I have to watch again, as well, but think I will still need to have something explained to me. What was it that Colson found in the trunk of the car he was assigned to drive? Obviously some kind of gotcha but I didn’t get it.
Dope of some sort, white powder in little packets.
Oh man! Five ‘bones in one bar set? Ain’t never seen that before…it was great! I thought Colson was being set up for what looked like street bags of brown H.
Sonny’s character wasn’t drawn out enough for me…we were shown how a crack binge with a negative outcome can jolt a guy into success and sobriety, but he already HAD all that, he was separated from the crack pipe, learning the shrimping trade, he had a lovely woman, and he rejected all that and went on his binge and then he went right back to the shrimp boat and his lady and got married. That bullshit is not fair to anyone, even the show viewers. He would have had to put at least a year between his last binge and his march to the marriage altar.
Well, Delmond was wondering where Albert disappeared to,and La Donna seemed to be gone for a minute or two…or fifteen…so am I reading too much into this?
Davis and his pal with the Tiny Tim hairstyle, the guy with the permanent beer bottle in his hand,provided much laughter and a lot of fun. It was just way-too predictable that “I Quit” was going to be a chart-buster, but I admit also that I loved it.
What a dick Janette’s partner is. She ends this season as the most unhappy character of the lot…frozen crawfish?? C’mon, MAN !!!
Albert is recovering, the chemo is working. YES! Albert Lambreaux, you ARE Pretty Big CHIEF!
God , I love this show. See ya next season, and one final shoutout to my Facebook friend Wendell Pierce, “Antoine Batiste”. That man never slows down!
Thanks, Editor B and dexterjohnson. I’m cutting myself some slack for not gettting it.
Interesting comment about Sonny and the redemption thing. I would be inclined to agree about the fact that realistically, more time would be needed to establish his stability in his prospective FIL’s eyes, but I think there’s some poetic license and the pressure on the story to move some events at a quicker pace this season. It seems Simon has some specific things in mind for the final (half) season and completing this portion of the story to this point was necessary. So, I agree but suspend disbelief.
I said all that because I wanted to say that, for me, maybe the most powerful and memorable scene in this season was when we see Sonny, so disgusted with himself and so remorseful that he went to Lin’s father and, after confessing and pleading for his life, he just crumpled before him, kneeling there, a wretched prodigal, and finally feels the hand on his head, accepting him. It took my breath away.
I am amazed there are still people who don’t get Treme or think its boring. This episode packed so much emotional triumph and spirit of what living in a community is about. This series is easily head and shoulders above “The Wire”.
Regarding Sonny, does the calendar formula matter that much? It seemed he had hit rock bottom and the high was losing its satisfaction even in S2. His realization of importance (begging Tran) and reliance on others (accepting the need for family) paralleled the episode of the community rallying for LaDonna. The fact that Lihn encourages him to keep gigging during the Blue Nile set (for Gigi’s), kind of affirms that he can accept being himself and have the community as a support network. The only thing I have trouble stomaching is living life as a shrimper without doing drugs….that’s rough work!
I hope to god that Terry takes the early retirement just for sanity’s sake. It was nice to see he and the Burnette family together. Juxtapose the end of Season 2 (the dissolution of the Soul Apostles) with the end of Season 3 with Antoine and his job-job giving back. Antoine has become Wendell Pierce all of a sudden.
It was a great time last night at Buffa’s Treme screening (wish y’all were there) where this episode’s director, Anthony Hemingway, showed up and was quickly accompanied by Kim Dickens, Steve Zahn, and Clarke Peters who watched the episode with us all.
I too need to watch this again, for several reasons, particularly to confirm that neither Larry nor LaDonna and Antoine’s sons were at the benefit. It might be a school night for the boys, but surely Larry would have been there? He was in the courtroom each time. I’ve gotten accustomed to looking for who is not present as much as who is not at key scenes in arc shows. Who else isn’t there is Annie, which I suppose is just as well.
So what am I making of Albert and LaDonna — and the plate Janette gave her — going off together through a door? That again, these two, who have been so damaged in their cores physically and emotionally, are taking a few minutes of quiet time together. If that is what’s going on, that’s brilliant writing. Not sex, not romance, but two people who know each other, providing each other a quiet place in which they can breathe and re-calibrate their hopefully healing selves, away from all the happy business of the world whirling about them.
But ending with Albert sewing is wonderful.
Man, that was a weird year, which it seems this season captured fairly. It was weird and scarely not only in New Orleans. What is further waiting is the national fall off the financial cliff, from which we’re still falling. And the fall had already begun for many in 2006 already.
The sweetest moment was Sofia, in her room, after meeting Colson in the hallway. That little smile. If anything in the world tells you she has forgiven Toni, it is that. The leaps in maturity that girl has made are remarkable — yet plausible. She comes from very intelligent, very empathic parents.
And one other thing, which most films and fiction leave out of anything set in Louisiana and New Orleans — the mosquitos when Toni is at Colson’s trailer and they are sitting outside. I recall reading a scene by a classic New Orleans novelist in which the narrator and a love interest spend the entire night on the balcony naked. I laughed long and loudly and put the book down to never again bother with.
C, I agree about Albert and LaDonna. Larry loves her, but one might just as well say “welcome to our world” to him as to Toni, but I think that schism has been clear from Season One. Albert for her is the model of how one is supposed to be in the face of adversity. Both Albert’s beatdown of the tool thief in Season One and Terry beat down of the homicide guy are part of the old school way things are settled (the root in part of our rampart gun violence, fists and maybe knives replaced with high capacity semis). Larry is a good person but as long as LaDonna keeps the bar and her ties to her roots he’s not strong enough for that world.
That may be the last we see of Annie or Sofia except as cameos as their stories are played out. The same goes for Sonny. I want to write about that at some length but those characters are easily left where they are at the end of Season 3 without harming the overall thrust of the remaining plot lines. Janette is a bit trickier. You want her to break through to something better, but life is full of winners and losers. You can’t tell a true story and leave all the pieces on the table.
Mark — It seems to me that Janette is young enough still to recover and change roads, find what works for her. For the foreseeable future in our part of the globe it’s a foodie and restaurant culture. (Somewhere I saw a pundit declare that food has the place in our cultural era that rock ‘n roll took in the 60′s and 70′s. True?) She’s got the skillz and the reputation. Even if she walks away from Mr. A-hole, and he keeps her name, surely she could work around that … though I’d be so spitting furious about somebody owning my name (I’m like that about patenting and trade marking genes too).
I liked Sonny, at least once he got on the boat I wish him well. I rather envision him becoming an environmental activist on behalf of the Gulf against Big Oil. Who knows? He might hook up with Toni at some point in the future.
One thing we know certainly is that Desiree and Antoine will keep on keepin’ on. Desiree — and all those incredible women like her, have kept New Orleans going forever.
Annie, like L.P., found New Orleans a great jumping off point for her career. L.P. was entirely impervious to the charms that have enchanted so many fresh to the city, which was very interesting. Annie, though, a part of her will always be anchored there, one thinks, due to the music, though her music has changed a whole lot. OK, this is just my feeling, but she’s become one more of those girl singer-songwriter-string players whose sound and music seem both dull and entirely interchangeable to me. But surely that’s merely my taste — like L.P.’s taste for metal and not at all for the more traditional New Orleans sounds — speaking here, and should not be taken as knowing judgment from On High!
Brophyfootball, Thanks for sharing your awesome experience watching Treme with the director, the amazing Kim Dickens, Steve Zahn, and Clarke Peters, What a high you must still be on. Yes, so many beautiful and deep moments. I screamed with joy when Toni and Terry got together. For all you male Annie fans, I ask forgiveness for my harshness on your lust after her. After all, I’ve had the same thing going on with David Morse for more years that I know. He’s a dream and probably a pretty nice guy from what I’ve read about him. Yes, it looks like Albert is a cancer surviver. Back sewing, no doubt his spirit was soothed and strengthened by LaDonna and maybe gave him inspiration to go on. I agree that Treme even surpasses The Wire. I shared last year here that I relocated from Alabama (a short sojourn) to New Orleans because of Treme. Luckily I was able to find a satisfying job as a front line trauma worker. So it feels good to be here and to do good work. I still wish we could see more of women helping women. I think back on how many gay characters there were in The Wire (Omar, Snoop, Sonja Sohn (sp?). What happened? Still feel the women are strong but lack more involvement with other women. But whatever, as has been pointed out, this is a show heavy on testosterone. Bless them for their wonderful gift to us all.
An excellent finish to a great season. Also, great comments and observations above. I just have a couple of things to add or respond to.
I read a Simon interview in which he compared Bubbles and Sonny and said that Bubbles was special in the addict world. I took that to mean that Sonny’s thread would be more representative of prevalent unhappy endings for drug abusers. So, when I predict that Sonny will leave his Vietnamese beauty for some China White, I have to admit to some help from the “horse’s mouth”. There is no way Sonny is gonna make this work. I found myself hurting for Lihn, and as they walked down the aisle, I was wishing that the impending disaster would strike before, and not after they had children (for theirs and their children’s sake).
I am hopeful that Janette will leave her current situation to join that other fellow who was hurt that she didn’t join him in the first place. Of course, as Foxessa pointed out, it will have to be without her name. We all knew it was coming when she jumped in with a handshake. Still, seeing it coming takes away none of the sting and sense of deep violation.
Great to see the various musicians we got to know back in Season 1. I was delighted to see Kermit again and not really surprised that he threw Davis a bone, so to speak. I loved the Bar Mitzvah boy…man, I should say, tickling the ivories… and then Davis walking away. Outstanding scene.
I didn’t understand why Davis walked away from Annie’s outdoor concert. Was he jealous? Did she sell out in some way? She was compassionate to him as she left his stoop, and he just sort of ignored her. I like both characters too much let it bother me. But I do wish Davis would recognize what he’s got, or had. It is so hard to watch people do-it-to-themselves. By the way, that was a great reversal of the scene at the end of season 1, in which Annie walks up onto his porch holding Davis’ hand.
I didn’t understand what happened between the reporter and that lady he was visiting in the airport. He said something, and she suddenly became disinterested in him. And it wasn’t his appreciation for metal, either.
For those who have been more impressed by Treme than The Wire, I completely understand where you are coming from, and I disagree. Viewers win, however, when a show pleases those who can relate most profoundly to its content. This finale was exceptionally enjoyable.
And yes to the Terry and Toni affair – sweet, sweet love. I was surprised when Terry didn’t seem to catch the hint to go inside. Dude, she is not worried about the mosquitoes (C, that is hilarious about you and that book – I’ve done the same thing with other books and movies). And I can’t believe Terry didn’t quit and take the pension. It is one thing to stand up to the shunning, but another when your co-workers are actively trying to frame you or worse.
And the best line of the show:
Shakedown artist: “Woah, woah, woah, you had some bad luck so I don’t get paid?!”
Getting beaten and raped, and having your bar burned down to keep you from testifying is “bad luck”…but it shouldn’t disqualify you from paying noise disturbance fees…even though your bar is a smoldering hole out of which not even a mouse’s squeak will come forth. Unbelievable!!
It is kind of symbolic of the whole post-Katrina affair, America vs Nola.
I would love to find the interview on Bubbles & Sonny. If that’s not a clue where this is headed I don’t know what is. I think his holiday blow-up was a visit from the ghost of Xmas future. And I would be shocked if some star-struck immigrant to New Orleans didn’t wind up in the gutter. it’s just too true a story to miss. Still, some story lines are going to have to collapse in an abbreviated season. If Treme is allegory (and Simon insists it and The Wire both are) then we might only hear second-hand of Annie’s success in Austin, or see only a glimpse of Sonny back on the street, moral tableaux as old as performed allegory itself, Antoine passing down the street and coming across Sonny, recording his disgust. Maybe throw in the bassist with Antoine, leave him squatting by Sonny as Antoine walks off with some pithy judgement about another wanna-be, washed up motherfucker. I could write that scene right here, sum up Sonny’s story in two minutes tops. I think we’ll see a fair bit of that with the less essential characters.
LaDonna’s end of season story is perfect Us against Them. The police and courts can’t protect her (from her first 9-1-1 call to the verdict), the insurance man’s about to rape her again, and the thing she treasured most is gone. Her friends and her ex- pull it together for her, giving her a glimmer of hope and a handful of cash to get her started again. That *is* the story.
I thought the Davis and Annie love affair reached its only logical conclusion. Davis is about as self-absorbed as they come but it’s worth remembering that Annie got mixed up with right on the heels of another serious relationship. I hate it for the guy but he shouldn’t be surprised she cut him loose to take up with another guy immediately. People who can turn on a dime once can do it again.
Having seen this up close and personal a few times, it’s nearly impossible for a relationship like Annie’s and Davis’s to survive intense professional success that happens to only one of them (or even, sometimes too, both of them). One travels and the other is not. They’re never there when you need them. Few people relate to you as anything but single because the one at home is at home and has no existence out there on the road, in the performance venue, backstage, the recording studio, the hotel. Most of all, the success’s priorities are everyone’s priorities, and yours are nobody’s priorities, not even your supposed partners. When it is the female who has the success it’s even less likely the relationship survives even for a little while because generally males can’t handle it. As others point out too, Davis is extraordinarily self-centered. He has his moments however! as when he brings Annie home that first Mardi Gras, playing knight to Sofia drunk on her ass, targeted by a much older predator, agreeing with Janette last Jazz Fest that he fights always above his weight (meaning his girls are of higher quality than he deserves). Yes. I love Davis.
As for why Davis walks away from Annie’s performance at Jazz Fest, it’s a complex of feelings: envy, pain, self-disgust, anger, and probably a little bit of thinking her music isn’t as good as it could / should be. In a lot of ways Davis is more musically acute than he’s generally given credit. Last week’s ep when he drunkenly shoves his way into the recording session, he says Annie’s voice is too far down in the mix, and dayem, that’s what I thought too, before he said it. Common studio and engineer quirks: two of the most common is mixing the voice too far down, mixing the drums too far down, overwhelming everything with the bass. Sometime you have to do knock down and drag ‘ems to get it the way you want.
Wow, re Sonny! Bubbles was redeemed at the end of The Wire. Why can’t Sonny be? Particularly as Sonny, as white, educated, with skills, loved and so on, has more going on for him than poor Bubbles ever had? I’m going to hang in there for musican-father-husband-Gulf environmental activist-heir apparent to his FIL’s shrimp boat — and besides the shrimp are not doing well these days — and the huge trawlers are part of it, even before the BP mess.
BTW, appropos to nothing really here, I’ve been listening to the Jazz From Lincoln Center live radio series here while making dinner most nights. This is Wynton’s Lincoln Center series, of course. But the radio series is hosted by Wendell Pierce, and he’s a wonderful host. Also, parts of the radio program are recorded in New Orleans.
Good points all, Foxessa. Does anybody know whether Annie had any permanent lodging between Sonny’s house and Davis’s?
Annie stayed with a girlfriend but only briefly. It was a pretty quick bounce from Sonny to Davis.
All great points. Thanks for the help in understanding Davis’ concert reaction.
I found the Salon Interview. The whole thing is excellent, but I have snipped and pasted the relevant part below. I apologize for those who might consider my interpretation of what he says as spoiler. Actually, when I first read the interview (at the end of Season 2), I thought it was horrifically spoilery, and for that reason, didn’t link to it. Now, when I re-read this, I realize that Sonny’s slapping Annie may have been his low point (aside from his big slip a couple episodes back). Hmm…mystery is good.
Simon: …Let’s take Sonny. After the first season, a lot of the people said, “What’s the point of Sonny?” Well, then you might want to ask, “What’s the point of Bubbles on ‘The Wire’?” Bubbles was a drug addict who we eventually let get clean over the course of five seasons on “The Wire.” But Bubbles was an extraordinary drug addict.
Salon: He was.
Simon: A selfless drug addict. Of which there are very few.
Salon: And as a character, Sonny doesn’t give you as much as a viewer as Bubbles did. He just doesn’t.
Simon: Nor did we want him to. Sonny is more of an accurate depiction of somebody who has a drug habit and ergo behaves selfishly and insecurely, and whose inner addict is dominating his behavior. Bubbles was an addict, but his inner addict wasn’t dominating his behavior. Bubbles was epic. And of all the people I’ve ever met who had drug problems dating back to the days of “The Corner,” Garry McCullough [the real-life inspiration for Bubbles] was a unique creature. Not to disrespect the character, because we loved writing the character, he was a great character, and there was a lot of Gary McCullough in Bubbles. But we understood that we were cheating a little bit, that we were giving you the best possible drug addict. We were not giving him many of the attributes that make addicts behave the way they do. If you’ve had an addict in your family, you know what I’m talking about.
Sonny is a guy to whom we’ve given the honest attributes of addiction. For me, his journey back requires more time, and it’s more of a journey. I know that when he slaps Annie that viewers are going to hate him. I don’t care. I’m more interested in characters who don’t gratify people in that way that television so often rushes to gratify people.
Remember Henry David Thoreau’s line about how the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation? He wasn’t talking about the 21st century. In the 21st century, the mass of men lead lives of quiet masturbation. Television is the optimum tool for that.
What I am really interested in are characters who are flawed. I really love what Wendell Pierce did in this final episode of season two, where, in the midst of taking this kid out on his first paying gig, he leers at the mother!
By the way, Wendell Pierce did the narration for NFL’s The Season, a series of 5-10 minute videos highlighting various personalities in the league. This year, when that duty was given to another, I really missed his amazing voice.
I just realized that didn’t scan far enough. There was more that I should have included, so continuing from the quote above:
Salon: I love that.
Simon: It’s who he is! He’s not gonna learn, in the TV sense of “eventually he’ll be the person you want him to be, because it’s television,”
Salon: “ I’m a scorpion. It’s what I do. It’s in my nature .”
Simon: Right. It doesn’t necessarily make him evil.
Salon: It’s who he is as a character.
Simon: And I couldn’t exactly rush out and say to every single person who has a problem with Sonny or doesn’t find him interesting, “Look, I promise you, this guy has a journey ahead of him that’s worthwhile, and that’s why we’re keeping him around. I’m already thinking about next year. I got a renewal for next year. They gave us eleven episodes. Trust me!” I can’t say that!
Salon: No, you can’t.
Simon: There’s no reason for viewers to trust anybody! It’s television!
Salon: I admit I did find myself coming around just a little bit on Sonny in this final episode, in those reflective, contemplative images of him on the new fishing boat.
Simon: I really hope you did. And if you didn’t, well, it means we didn’t execute them well enough.
All I’m saying is, it’s so hard to look at these shows on an episode-by-episode basis and say, “I don’t like that they did this, I don’t understand why they did this.” It may be that you get to the end of a season and find that the reasons that we had for doing whatever we did don’t justify anything. But if you care about the whole, there is no way we can do anything but write the whole. Wherever the pieces lay in the individual chapters, that’s where they lay.
Again, maybe Sonny really is going to live happily ever after. If that is the case, I might even be disappointed. As several above have pointed out, it is just too easy, and Sonny has already declared going back on his own commitment of not playing any more.
But — Sonny isn’t part of the Baltimore Corner. He ain’t black, he ain’t even USA.
And I have, for my sins or otherwise, known a few people who were junkies, who aren’t any more and are doing for decades great. Now, on one hand they still have that ingrained junkie thing of trying to scam you in one way or another, even when it doesn’t matter, it’s not what’s going on now and hasn’t gone on for decades, that’s ingrained in the junkie looking for the bread to score. But — Sonny was never that deep down either. And neither were they. There’s levels and levels of addiction and the behaviors it forces, provokes. Sonny was never at the bottom like that because he was white — and neither are these women / men I’m talking about, whose names I shall not mention — because they had other resources. Bubbles never did. All Bubbles had was his inner decency, and by ghod, his story was beautiful, and we never thought for a moment that it wasn’t exceptional.
In my goddamned opinion
Sonny, making it as a successful transplanted to the Gulf from the Netherlands, working his ass off by day on a shrimp boat, having a family, becoming something — including or not a Gulf Coast environmental activists — while continuing to play gigs in New Orleans — by ghod that’s GREAT! That’s heroic! That’s — normal. That is so much too of what New Orleans is about. People come to NO to hide from or indulge in — and some of them find redemption. And some came in the first place to help the fight, which the first lines are environmental and cultural == Treme. I could name a few (though they weren’t junkies at all or even musicians) who have contributed enormously and were moved to come here due the threat that is part of the danger aimed at every coastal area in the world.
On the other hand, I don’t think those wonderful people who understood that about New Orleans, the culture and environmental essentialness in their gut, whether or not they could have articulated it that way when they first showed up — will be showing up here in our region. What we got here is a whole other thing — look back to 9/11. Look to Occupy, which is doing an incredible job — and one of the First Responders. As much as we have the same shit going down we’re different too. But a whole lot was learned by the activist world from New Orleans and Katrina. It’s harder for the assholes to get their way these times around — and that means before Sandy here — but in the midwest when insurance companies and water and gas and electricity pulled that same gouging shit on them that they played in New Orleans — we see in Season 1 of Treme with Albert, for instance.
O good grief, I blither.
Now Imma gonna add something that HBO should look at. Partner in Crime has an office by mumblemumblemumble in the NYU Grad Center. Among the security people is a woman of color from South Carolina, who has figured out that he’s got something to do with New Orleans. She targeted him the other day to ask him about Treme, which she just saw an episode of — in the middle — at a friend’s house that has HBO. She loved it. She asked him about it. He asked her, “Did that make any sense to you coming in like that in the middle of the third season?” She said, “I loved The Wire and didn’t come in for that until season four.”
In other words, Treme, like The Wire, is starting to be looked for and looked out for, just as the freakin’ thing is being forced off the air, before it can it be finished as it should have been.
Just sayin’ ….
3Suns, your wondering what happened between the reporter and that lady he was standing behind in the airport. She wanted to talk JazzFest. “He said something, and she suddenly became disinterested in him. And it wasn’t his appreciation for metal, either.” It was the sea shanties that blew her away. Remember that wonderful serendipity of the reporter meeting up with the Irish fellow, Annie, Hurley’s sister and Sophia sitting to the side mourning the loss of her father all alone. Later that evening the reported and the Irish fellow both drinking and singing shanties together? That was a lovely scene with all of those characters, some connected, some not. Great art.
Honestly, and as I started out: I could walk away from Chapter 30 (um, Season 3, Episode 10) and be satisfied with the stories, the characters, everything. I don’t recall who first said that large works aren’t completed, they’re abandoned, but there is truth in that.
I’m sorry for everyone rooting for Sonny. I’m thinking my last two minutes of Sonny is what we’ll get. For dramatic purposes, the outsider who is redeemed/saved by New Orleans will be Janette. Sonny will be the sacrifice on the altar. She worked at it, and now she’s at the bottom of the deepest hell and dramatically a better save. And if someone isn’t ruined by the city in this show may The House of the Rising Son never be played again, because there’s truth in that as well.
M. Christine, I am still missing it. She was trying to get out before JazzFest, wasn’t she, beat the crowd and the commercial fuss? Is there something about the sea shanties that would be a turn off? – the scene you described was beautiful. Was she just that shallow? Sorry, but I feel like this is one of those things that I am not understanding because of lack of local knowledge.
(Will Ferrell at the end of “The Wedding Crashers” would have us believe that funerals are the latest venue for picking up women )
And C, I love your passion (and kind heart), but I am with Mark on this one. Cheers!
why should we expect / anticipate logical conclusions to this story, though?
I don’t get the impression that these characters fit the formulaic emotional roller coaster (anticipation, climax, guided to a stabilized stop) for some type of homeostasis closure.
Colson and Jeanette showed how two people, committed as they might be to a vocation (career) ultimately had the bottom-line driven element of our “job-job” consume them whole. We could hope for each of them to persevere and triumph against their “corporate overlords” in their given situation, but really that isn’t life. I don’t think the final montage really hinted at what Colson’s final decision was….is he really ‘trapped’ to suffer in his lot? Only by financial yoke (pension) is that true. The end of 2012 is upon us and we’re getting better but no where close to “cleaning house” in NOPD. Lets not kid ourselves here.
On the flip side of that, you have Antoine who is even deeper in his new enterprise (the job-job), clearly not driven by a paycheck, and is finding more and more satisfaction because he is investing in people. Jeanette obviously viewed her opportunity through the lens of her last restaurant in New Orleans (as the owner), enjoying the freedom to remain creative. She seems to be relegated to becoming a glorified Executive Chef in the current gig that has homogenized what she’s about (purity of art) into a cookie-cutter package taking advantage of the low-hanging fruit of new money coming into New Orleans (the one stop shop for a tourist to experience “N’awlins” tm). Just like the Congo Square Jazz Center, the best intentions, when driven by profits and shareholders will be spoiled in an instant. Yet, without such, when does the preservation occur?
Sonny, does he always have to remain some junkie? Can he find his purpose in life without becoming some holy-roller 12 stepper? Can one passionate life pursuit (musical truth of New Orleans) lead him to find a changed satisfaction / fulfillment in something else? He has a steady paycheck on the boat, but is compelled to give back though music. Does Sonny have to be “the junkie” of the story to hold relevance? I don’t see his motivations being so linear.
For as much of an aficionado as Davis, I didn’t get the sense he really was a fan of what direction Annie’s music took. He never seemed to dig on Harley and while can play the Sunday OZ Acadian tracks, doesn’t have any interest in being west of Jefferson. The only real time we see ‘big time’ sanitized Music Industry in Treme is through Delmond and now Annie. One doesn’t go to New Orleans to become ‘discovered’ but maybe moreso to find their musical soul. Are we to believe Annie finally got that brass ring because she was that much more motivated (what is she getting out of all the hoop jumping?), because she is just so awesome as a neo-fiddle player, or because she is the most marketable device to capture a larger demographic (young, pretty musician can sell some units)? Maybe a combination of the three.
This is why Treme resonates so hard with me. You have a cadre of artists who are committed to creating something without strings on the marionette, something that stands on its own. We can be so conditioned with Shakespearean plot devices that our palate can’t stomach. Story archs don’t restfully tie together? Tough shit – thats life. Look at The Wire (sigh), the only real hero of the entire series was Bunny Colvin who legalized drugs….the rest of the characters were so personally flawed and conflicted how could there be any logical conclusions without taking ridiculous artistic license?
How does one watch Treme and then think you’re going to be able to digest Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire (the top heralded stories running now)? I know I certainly can’t. For as well produced and captivating as those programs are, they aren’t providing any true dimensional character introspection or allegorical societal mirror. They are great fantasy pieces that are expertly produced. They are the equivalent of a gourmet hamburger (commonplace taste)…..using bacon and cheese as the standard caricature plot devices to inject drama into a story (“look out, Walt!!!Mexicans are after ya! Oh noes!”)
My take on the scene in the airport was- a gal had to leave JazzFest early, probably just one or 2 days and had to get back to work. Being high on being at JazzFest, she wanted to talk about it with the guy behind her who pretty much shut her down with I like metal and sea shanties- not on the lineup. Just shows the difference for their reasons and experiences for being in New Orleans.
Also re:Annie- don’t you know that she was so easily successful because of the young, pretty thing? How many way more talented people (and Annie can play that’s for sure) are working gigs in hotels around this country because they never had the right look- both male and female. That’s what bugged me the most. She got picked up before she was even ready; claiming credit for writing songs written by another. Wasn’t that part of the deal? By the look I her face, it seemed like it was.
Brophy — That’s all true. Treme provides a fully dimensional simulacrum of lives fully lived in a particular place during a particular time, which confuses a lot of viewers. They want the comfort arc of customary fantasy television: easily identifiable good vs bad, or at least bad so glamorized it stands in for the good, and you pull for it — and preferably with a lot of detailed violence and nekkid. If there isn’t a gun how can it be a story?
OTOH there are other viewers who are enthralled with the Treme vision of story telling, committed at the highest of visual (production) and visionary (writers!) levels. It’s adult work for adults, not a fanboyz’ fantasy of how power intersects with good and evil. For this veiwer this generally means violence committed by favorite characters without being held accountable by god or the court, preferably accompanied by a quip that stands in for wit, but is a cliche — and lots and lots of rape. (I am still seething about that so-called television reviewer in salon last season, complaining that he didn’t get to see LaDonna fighting back futilely while being raped, that the screen time devoted to the rape was too short — therefore unrealistic. Ye ghods and little fishes!)
As you and Mark say, this sort of story telling doesn’t reach for a ‘closure.’ Like life, it spills beyond the frame and continues when the curtains are pulled across the window. At the same time though, this is fiction, and it is consciously composed, as much as The Wire was. But it is a different story, a different city, a different world with a different history.
And, part of the story of this time, is at this time (as it has at other times in the past) New Orleans is a place where you can be discovered. The city is sizzling and crackling with so much youthful creative energy sparking from so many directions — not only musically. If one is starting out, New Orleans is a good place to be, one thinks, especially if without children.
Yes. I too tend to like extremely weird music that’s not featured at Jazz Fest. Over the years I’ve lived in New Orleans I can testify this is a major disconnect. This is why I was so happy to see the metalhead thread developed.
F, many people still expect comfort television. I disagree with Sam Wilkinson’s pan of the season and episode of at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen and many of his comments defending his position (again Brophy and I among others). I think this one comment:
“Simon can say that this isn’t television in the conventional sense, but I was sitting in my living room, watching the show on a television.”
I think we’ve already covered the essential differences in structure between The Wire and Treme, and the specific challenges for the writers acting within the framework of actual events. He does argue that Sonny, Annie and Davis were weak characters, and that there were no such weak characters in The Wire. He calls out Ziggy as an example of a strong, supporting character but I don’t see how one can argue that Davis was not more essential and as compelling as Ziggy. It’s true that Sonny is no Bubbles, but Simon made clear in an interview that Bubbles was a special case, an addict who did not let his addiction control his heart. He was the opposite of the folks F discussed who long after being clean still follow an addicts hustle.
Sonny is a true type and an essential foil for Annie. One could argue that Lucia was more eye candy that actress (I think she’s both) when in an ensemble with Kandhi Alexander, Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce but I think she and Michiel did a fine job as supporting cast. And you can’t tell the Davis story and complete him as a character (and he is in fact much more than Ziggy with a piano) without Annie and Sonny.
can a character like Davis be believable if you aren’t aware of how passionately visceral Davis Rogan was? There ARE people like Davis McAlary out there and in any other city it may be awfully annoying.
Another issue I find almost comical now, is how FOREIGN an entity like OZ is to the rest of the world.
That said, a “Treme” type story could work in San Francisco or New York, easily…..again, its what do we want to fight for in every other city? Its a race to homogenization…..meet you at Applebees!
Just when I was ready to write Treme off after a somewhat desultory season, they pulled this episode out of the hat as it were. I’m hoping that Davis and Sonny will be dispatched from the show. Davis has been intolerable all season and Sonny has just been dull. I like Annie’s character but she’s played out unless they do something different.
Here’s hoping that they focus like a laser on Antoine, LaDonna, Albert and their kith and kin. Every time one of them is onscreen I perk up but when they’re not I tend to check out.
The best part of a very good episode was Irvin Mayfield playing himself as a total douchebag, which is what he is. Anyone think he understood how he’d come off? He should have BUT egomaniacal douchebags are rarely self-aware.
I think Annie’s music sucks. While there was plenty to like about this season, I got really tired of characters telling us “This City” is a great song. Most of the music featured on the show is great but I could do without the John Hiatt/latter-day Steve Earle brand of white bread “roots rock” and folkish, Lillith Fair garbage that pops up on occassion. There must be some caricature of a left-leaning Baby Boomer on the staff.
you watch Treme and want specific genre?
I don’t know if there is one musician featured on the show that fits within a certain music catalog. Ben Ellman (featured in every season) exemplifies what the music scene is about (it is EVERYTHING, all styles). If you can stomach Nikcy da B, Hot 8 or Steve Riley, but can’t stomach a Lucinda Williams or Townes Van Zandt, I think you’re missing what music is about.
It isn’t so much a song, musically, is the BEST but the art of performing live music and how that impacts those participating in it (just like theatre).
These are my own opinions, only — and I appreciate so much seeing everyone else’s! Thank you for taking all this time to write what you think and feel.
Mark — “He calls out Ziggy as an example of a strong, supporting character but I don’t see how one can argue that Davis was not more essential and as compelling as Ziggy.” Absolutely. Also I’d rather spend my time with Davis than with Ziggy any day. For one thing, Davis isn’t a druggie, if you don’t count pot and beer.
Brophy — It would be different in another city. NYC is too large to have a single person who walks through the all walls of the worlds that make up this city. And it changes too fast to stay caught up with all of it all the time. It’s time isn’t the circular progression that New Orleans’s time is — and which, wisely, is Treme‘s seasonal structure — to Mardi Gras to Jazz Fest, and all the other festivals before, in-between and after. There is no other city in America that closes down for a week of Carnival. None. You can’t do that when you’re home to the Stock Exchange ….
My sense is Davis is one of the souls essential to New Orleans. Tricksters / Holy Fools are not always comic, nice and entertaining, so Davis isn’t always fun or even kind. Like Eleggua, like Papa Legba, with one side of the face black, one side red, they have more than one face, more than one side. But they turn things around and upside down, things that often need to be turned around and upside down. And I don’t think you could find a Davis in NYC. New Orleans is his place, his cradle, his matrix, his system. New Orleans is just the right size for a Davis — small enough to keep him from being lost, large enough to be varied enough to keep him contained, as he must be constrained at times.
I find all these characters fascinating — except for Annie. It has nothing to do with whether their character is good, bad, likeable or what — it’s that they are so much alive-O, within their contexts. And most of them are likeable, if not all the time. I really admire LaDonna, for instance, but she’s not much more comfortable to be around than a porcupine is she? IOW, I do like them. Like I liked Ziggy — was amazed by him — but I didn’t like him at all. Ziggy would work in New Orleans, btw, but Davis in Baltimore? Not so much, one thinks.
Edward — For what it’s worth (about a pfennig right? ) my own taste in music agrees with you!
Adrastos — Using Mayfield to ground the real issue of monetizing New Orleans’ culture (also dramatized with Janette) strengthens so much the Congo Square Jazz Center business with Albert and Delmond. Ballsy, ballsy, ballsy — the Treme team is never afraid to run where angels fear to tread. Woo.
I’m sorry, but “This City” is the National Anthem of the Republic of New Orleans. And Annie’s version is weak. Davis was right. This was a song that needed a strong vocal and they were burying her in the mix. She needed to come across like Susan Cowsill in “Crescent City Snow” (the b-side of our national anthem. Of course in New Orleans the national anthem has to have a b-side).
brophyfootball, I’m not calling for a specific genre. I just think it’s funny that somebody likes that tepid shit enough to shoehorn it into the show. I’m gonna laugh my ass off if Jackson Browne or Bonnie Raitt makes an appearance next season.
No laughing at Bonnie! All the funds she raised — herself — for the benefit of musicians before Katrina, and then after Katrina, and still raises. No laughing matter at all! Anyone fortunate to have her for a friend knows how fortunate they are — and I’m one.
What happened with Dr. John this year? Was he just a “miff”? I felt he added to the show, as much as Kermit.
Dr. John was used as the bridge for the Donald Harrison….er….Chief Lambreaux Jazz fusion. Just like in real life
M. Christine, thank you. I understand fully, now. And very true about Annie.
Brophy, I agree 100% about the fact that the characters need not follow any predetermined literary arc. It is the unpredictability of Simon TV that makes me such a fan. I think, however, that there is a difference between writers following predetermined arcs for their characters and writers offering simply some form of resolution to at least some of the conflicts they face. Simon offers resolution without predictability and I enjoy his work more for it. As regards Sonny specifically, I interpret his words and deeds to describe a future road full of incredible challenges – one that most “normal” people would not be able to walk successfully (especially since we know his vocation is about to be attacked by an oil spill).
Also, excellent point about understanding Davis McAlary through Davis Rogan. That, and the pacing (dictated in part by long cameos and/or musical pieces), are the biggest reasons that the general population won’t be able to hold Treme with the same degree of affection as you do. I never felt like I needed to live in Balitmore to fully understand or appreciate The Wire.
Changing the subject, I just want to add that Khandi Alexander again in this last episode, performed with incredible skill, going from tough to vulnerable in the blink of an eye, reminiscent (but more important than) Christopher Reeve taking off his glasses and transforming from bumbling, insecure Clark into Superman. Obviously I haven’t watched all the other TV shows out there, but this year, I can’t imagine anyone outperforming her. Seriously, I practically grabbed my collar in defensive insecurity every time she did the same when looking at her attackers.
I forgot. I loved it that they gave a little time to John Boutté performing again. Wow, just wow!
Yes indeed, The John Boutte solo was a wonderful moment. Another one that had me whooping! A lovely tribute to him.
Oh snap! I never responded to Foxessa’s response to me about her handle. Very cool. You couldn’t very well be Foxette or something diminuitive. I love the voodoo analogy in your post. Papa Legba ouvrez la porte: Davis open the door to musicians. I didn’t know that Legba’s face was red and black. Also, has anyone said that the salon reviewer’s comments about rape were uncomfortably reminiscent of congressmen trying to redefine rape and that the victim had to resist?
Brophy, the “race to homogenization . . . meet you at Applebee’s!” is both funny and sad.
Mark, I am glad that you said explicitly that you don’t agree with gentleman Sam. Those of you on this blog come across as such lovely people and great artists that any lack of accord is difficult to detect. Truly civil. And a bunch of your lovely writing is now over there instead of here. I am trying to keep up and keep together all the yummy posts about Treme, like this one of yours: “If someone isn’t ruined by this city [New Orleans] by the end of this show may The House of the Rising Sun never be played again.”
Are you any relation to Chef John Folse?
I couldn’t resist diving into the discussion at Ordinary Gentlemen, and a few of those comments are nascent posts here post-season. The debate over there is spirited and fun to read even if the consensus is they knew The Wire and Treme is no Wire. (How do you hold up Ziggy as an essential and well-developed character then diss Davis?) Pretty much all the Folses can trace themselves back to Johann Jacob Folse, who arrived from Germany in the first wave of immigrants. in the early eighteenth century.
That is one thing that is always going to stump the outside viewers unless they completely suspend disbelief and enter into this entirely real world. As I said over at the LoOG America today has not real culture. American culture was defined largely by the westward expansion, valuing the new over the old, with even as rigorously organized a culture as the Puritans starting to break down in as little as three generations.As an early urban center New Orleans began to develop a very unique Afro-Mediterranean culture almost three centuries ago, and the folkways set in motion that long ago survived Americanization, Reconstruction and Jim Crow.
I want to bring this thought over verbatim from the League: “I think another challenge the writers (and many viewers) face is the deliberate attempt to portray a culture. The United States is a country without a culture in the sense that New Orleans has one, the way less mobile and more homogeneous places have a culture. The closest thing most Americans have to a culture is their church, their kid’s [and city's]sports team, work, and the random collection of neighbors who share the same set of disconnected culture bubbles that are as interchangeable between cities as restaurant franchises. The viewer is being asked to comprehend something that doesn’t really exist in this country any longer outside of recent immigrant communities and i’s alien and i’ts hard and it’s important.”
It also requires a character like Davis to tie together the subcultures in New Orleans, ones that didn’t often interact until recently. if you want to capture the New Orleans of the last generation, when the dying brass band movement was reborn, Mardi Gras Indians and second lines were discovered by white folks, a place where white, urban Orleanians began to embrace the essential Africaness of the city’s culture. It was a bright, shining moment in American history that the Federal Flood almost destroyed, which is how this whole conversation got started: Simon’s inspiration in the way people desperately clung to their city and insisted on its reconstruction on their own terms.
Sometime this month, if I understood the previews, Americans will flock to theaters to watch the remake of Red Dawn and yet fail to understand what is happening on the screen in Treme.
For what it’s worth I found Davis McAlary entirely plausible before I’d ever heard of Rogan, before I met him, before I knew anything about him. Davis McAlary is a great character — one of the best to come along in the arts and entertainment media of the U.S. in the 21st century.
Beth — You see the red and black facial division more so in Santería – Lucumi for Eleggua than you do in Haitian loa Legba, though they both share the colors of red and black. With Eleggua, which you don’t see in Haitian Vodun, one of his caminos is that of child, so he often presents a mischievious child. There are patikin cycles (played, danced and sung stories of the orishas) of Eleggua the Child too.
The other thing about foxes? They are very adaptable, equally at home in the wild, in farm land and urban areas.
It is hard to know where to begin. I love this show, perhaps the most ambitious and unique piece of television ever to air. But the big thing is its characterizations and acting. I can’t help but think, though, that above the whole show, Wendell Pierce’s Antoine and Khandi Alexander’s La Donna, the complexity of both characters, their flaws, their weaknesses, their passions–embody something about the whole show, thrilling, alive, artistic.
Wow. Get busy with something, don’t stop in here for a couple days and you guys all run amuck! Great stuff here though.
Okay, Davis: I love Davis. Both of them. In fact I wrote once about the character here at BoT: http://backoftown.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/in-defense-of-davis-mcalary-epistle-in-b-flat/
and once about the Real Davis here: http://nolaslate.blogspot.com/2011/05/drinking-with-real-davis.html
I don’t think the writers are finished with him. He’s wide open right now with no direction, the only character in the whole piece who isn’t on a trajectory TO something. He has no idea what he’s going to do and further, feels a bit abandoned and at sea. That’s interesting because this is the guy who found a way to be creative in the aftermath of the storm in outlandish ways, and through that creativity coped. Now he just seems lost and there were folks who managed in a sort of manic way to just keep going after the storm only to get knocked, finally, for a loop down the road.
As for the other characters, and all the characters here in the comments section, I really believe that the writers are grinning as they read all this. 3 Suns put it well: ” It is the unpredictability of Simon TV that makes me such a fan.” Yeah. Exactly.
I for one was stunned that Sonny actually went to the altar. They’ve taken us on a wild journey with him. I wasn’t kidding when I said that folks thought he was going to kill Annie. I heard I think from Mr. Overmyer that poor Michiel Huisman had folks walking up to him in restaurants saying, “You better not hurt that girl!” Now he’s walking down the aisle with a beautiful woman from a community that wasn’t even a glimmer in the first season’s eye as far as the viewers went. Amazing surprise turns.
I have no doubt that we’ll be surprised next 1/2 season too.
Each season I watch the entire prior season in a marathon session, as a whole piece, . While I will miss this series very much when it ends, I am dying to see it front to back. Each season as a marathon is enlightening, but to watch the entire piece from the first frame to the last will be a gift of a lost week I’ll give myself at some point. It will look different from that vantage point.
Also, just to let you guys know, we are talking about continuing to add pieces here in the off season and maybe even beyond, because once the series is over and the box set comes out, folks will find us and be as delighted by the series and indeed, the comments here. I can almost guarantee it. So we have a few things planned, and while it might not be as regularly maintained, we do have some topics that we’d like to go more in depth on, especially for those of you who don’t live here. We hope that you’ll stick with us and continue to join in the conversation as we go along.
Is there a particular topic that you’d like to see us talk about? Maybe something that’s touched on in the show that you’d like to know more about? (For instance in the first season I wrote a piece on the realities of OPP that gave folks a glimpse of how completely out of control that whole place was and how easily Daymo could have gotten lost given that reality.) We got a million of ‘em, and are totally open to suggestions.
It has been a great privilege to contribute here and I am sad that we don’t have a new episode this week. The grand Mr. Folse and I won’t be texting (or saying to each other in a bar watching) possible lines for the open thread. There are usually so many great lines that it often came down to which one best summed up the whole episode. Writing here is just plain fun, and our commenters are the best. You guys have become part of our lives and we look forward to what you have to say. We also need to do a shout out to Editor B for his stellar insights on the metal scene. Many thanks, Bart!
We’re not going anywhere, and this thread will stay open for a while. Let us know what you’d like to see us write about, come back during the off season, and accept our thanks for the lively, thoughtful conversations you’ve given us this season.
Mark–I am glad you and brophy posted on LoOG and please do repost it here for the record! All that lovely writing. I agree that it’s hard to resist posting there, although I didn’t intend to become an apologist for the white characters an episode or so ago (*rolls eyes).
I never saw The Wire. I watch Treme because it is about New Orleans. What blog was it where someone was asked to stop posting about The Wire on the Treme thread?
I have now found out about (discovered sounds too pretentious) David Simon, some actors, and some other talented folks, like Davis Rogan. Someone on AV Club gave the link to the full version of “I Quit,” and after hearing Rogan’s speaking and singing voices, he seems familiar.
I am not sure if I will be following David Simon or the other talent after Treme ends. I’m almost caught up reading all the posts and comments here and started in on the Krewe’s blogs, beginning with Ray’s. That ought to keep me out of trouble until next season.
I wish David Simon would fall in love with Galveston and make a novel about it. Hey, the island has the largest historic district in Texas.
Foxessa, Imma hunt down (in a humane way) your name so I can check out the scholarship listed on your blog. I became interested in African and Caribbean religions as an offshoot of my fascination with La Nouvelle Orleans.
Thanks, Sam and Mark. It’s been a great pleasure to read and get to add input. I’m sure you know LA has the hightest rate of Domestic Violence in the country. Maybe something like that would be a subject to think on. Gratefully, M. Christine
I don’t know if this is a potential topic, but did the LSU and VA hospitals ever get built after all those houses were torn down in order to make way for them?
I looked online and it doesn’t look as if they did. I read that the funds were not available. I read all the posts and comments on the Squandered Heritage blog archives. It is such a shame that livable homes were destroyed.
The VA Hospital is going ahead without the state hospital, and without all of the synergistic shared plant and services that was supposed to make the whole thing work. The state never had a real financial plan. I think the ultimate plan was to tear down Charity and leave nothing in its place, as further inducement to get all of those pesky poor folks to move on and be a burden on someone else’s Red State. Never mind that New Orleans cultural reason d’etre would leave with them. Most of that land will be vacant forever, and with Jindal’s feelings about New Orleans we’ll be lucky if thye mow the grass and keep the fences in repair. In was never going to be built anymore than the rest of the bio-tech district beyond calling the LSU and Tulane medical buildings by that name, or Sheriff’s Gusman state of the art gulag, or the jazz center.
They fucked us over and could care less. Until America wakes up and realizes that the GOP is the largest criminal enterprise and hate group in the history of this country we are well and truly fucked. Ourselves Alone. Sinn Fein. Simon tries to nudge the viewer in that direction, to recognize the fundamental corruption of core institutions, but gently and within the scope of reasonable discourse. Which is great but… End of post before I bring the Secret Service and State Police to my door.
Sam, great to hear that you plan to keep this blog hummin’ even in the off-season. Off the top of my head, I would love to hear about the gulf and the impact of the spill, from the Krew’s perspective, (as opposed to just what the Associated Press agrees to divulge on the topic). Just this morning I came across an article on the toxicity of the oil dispersants being higher than “they” originally thought. DUH! At the time, I was telling all my friends, don’t use the chemicals, the crude oil is bad enough.
Maitri, I would love to hear your thoughts on that, and even your opinion on the current state of recovery in Valdez.
But that is less about culture, and more just about the current situation. Whatever the Krewe writes about will be most enjoyably and gratefully read! I enjoy the personal anecdotes especially.
I agree w/ what 3 Suns said about whatever ya’ll want to write about. However, I lived in a tourist town (Galveston, Texas) for 23 years, and the oil spill effects could be a touchy subject for some folks (not that the island was affected negatively by the BP spill). On the one hand, one doesn’t want to hurt business by saying anything negative; but, OTOH, one longs to tell how bad things really are, for various reasons.
Mark, thanks for the info on the hospitals. What a crime. I wasn’t familiar with Jindal’s feelings about New Orleans. He’d better watch it since Baton Rouge is now stuffed with New Orleanians in exile. How do the various cities in Louisiana rank in population these days?
And, oh god forbid that corporations (and government)pay folks a living wage so that they would no longer be poor; but no, let’s just let the taxpayer subsidize big business by paying for public assistance. Same problem in Galveston.
Trying to make lemonade out of Katrina/federal floods lemons, I thought that those who had to relocate would bring New Orleans culture to wherever they were displaced. I saw it as positive if the rest of the U.S. would be more like NoLa.
I wonder if the members of the diaspora have instead become Applebeed. Some found more opportunities elsewhere. Others remain impovershed and perhaps even more so without their local support system, which for some people included a barter economy.
If the krewe or anyone else has observations on that, I would love to hear them.
More people are lot more familiar with the music of New Orleans musicians — all over the world — than were prior to Katrina and Failure. For better or worse you see Mardi Gras beads everywhere, and Mardi Gras itself celebrated, which didn’t used to be the case. Now there are beads for every holiday and people wear them everywhere.
It kind of reflects what happened with Cuban music and culture after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its subsidies, when the Special Period sent Cubans and musicians in particular all over the world in the 90′s. It’s still going one, but to far less extent in the 21st century. For one thing 9/11 made getting into the U.S. much much much harder for everbody, including people who are citizens of the U.S. Well, maybe it’s just made it much harder for U.S. citizens to leave the United States, or indeed, go anywhere inside the U.S. too, at least if you are flying.
We are hearing Katrina and New Orleans referenced every by everyone in NYC again, except from the other side: what we can learn and use from New Orleans’ experience. What nobody’s talking about much is the other things learned in New Orleans and which Treme dramatizes so well — vulture capitalism, disaster capitalism, and how under the guise of ‘re-building, bigger, better, smarter, they’re really stealing the ground from under your feet. But a lot of us know ….
Ah well, off to Carnegie Hall for Rumba Andabo — they’re not los Muñequitos de Matanzas, but they’ll do. It’s kind of sad in a lot of ways, to see how little the reality of the U.S., particularly its economic reality, and the changes from the 90′s when the groups came here all the time (which the bushwaws stopped in 2003) has penetrated a lot of people in countries like Cuba. They still think the U.S. is a place of easy travel and easy money. The next few days are Cuban music saturation here. But on Monday, el Vaquero — a/k/a Partner in Crime is off to New Orleans, so he’s going to miss a lot of it.
Mark, Your post was so true. We live this daily. I came down with cancer in January and the LSU Interim hospital went all out getting me medicaid and providing surgery, etc. Being new to the area, I guess I would have to say it is close to what your Charity Hospital was. I choose to earn a low wage as a domestic violence worker so that I can help my community and yet it is almost too much of an income to qualify for medicaid. If I get well then no more medicaid. You are so right about the Republicans. Evil shit. Am I allowed to say that word?As I say I’m not from these parts originally so I’ve been a free thinker and know we have a choice. Not being raised to go along with what the family and community dictates: remember question authority? Yeh, from age 14 and now at 62 I’m as fired up as ever. Republicans, like Gary Johnson, my Governor in NM for his 2 terms, who is against all wars, including the drug wars, was forced into the Independent party. I’m all about Obama but still we need to have Gary Johnson who’s message is, “You republicans are full of it.” I loved the Sinn Fein reference. I’m reading “The Graves are Walking” to get a sense of my historical forebears who fled to this country. Joan Walsh in Salon has written about this. Here’s to you, Bill O’Relly and Sean Hannity. Not just your family history.
C. said: “We are hearing Katrina and New Orleans referenced every by everyone in NYC again, except from the other side: what we can learn and use from New Orleans’ experience. What nobody’s talking about much is the other things learned in New Orleans and which Treme dramatizes so well — vulture capitalism, disaster capitalism, and how under the guise of ‘re-building, bigger, better, smarter, they’re really stealing the ground from under your feet. But a lot of us know ….”
You are so right. I’ve been talking all week with folks in NY/NJ area about the situation up there. As many of you know, I wrote this: http://nolaslate.blogspot.com/2012/10/unsolicited-advice-to-northeast-in.html on Halloween night. Since then it’s been read by close to 35K people much to my surprise, and one tiny Brooklyn paper decided to print it. This has caused my email box to explode with responses, many of which start out, “Please don’t publish this in the comments section, but can you tell me what you guys did about. . .?” and they leave their email. I have been sending out links to articles, blog pieces, anything I can find and I’m astonished by some of the similarities.
I got an email just this week with statements like this in it:
“It’s 4 weeks later. It was 32 degrees out this morning. There is a whole
>> community that has been forgotten. It is the black community, the poor, the
>> elderly, the spanish.”
” I can’t see the government not knowing exactly what has been going on. I
>> can’t see someone, at this point, stepping up and saying “you know I’m
>> sorry, I didn’t realize what was happening, and now I am going to do my
>> job.” I don’t trust an entity like that to help now.
>> I don’t trust FEMA. There is currently a petition to get warming tents
>> from FEMA. They’ve had them in NJ for weeks. I think that it’s way too
>> late for that. I think maybe there is a good reason the mayor hasn’t asked
>> for the FEMA tents. There is a protest scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall.
>> No one knows what they want as a result of the protest.”
And finally, this:
“Send my love to your people. I was unaware, 6 years ago, of what you were
>> going through. My circle was small. I’m so sorry.”
It was a long, heartbreaking email with one of the last sentences being, “I know I sound like a psycho, but I’m not.” No. She sounds just like all of us sounded and she’s already seeing the vulture capitalists, even if she can’t quite put a name to them yet. She’s already seeing a replay of the disenfranchisement of the poor, the minority, the elderly population that we saw here and is wondering if she’s seeing something that’s not there. She’s not sure it’s deliberate. Yet. She completely echoed your statement, C, about “bigger and better.” Evidently she’s mostly out in the Rockaways, which has been ignored tremendously from the sound of it. I also learned that the area that the little Brooklyn paper is in, Gerritsen Beach was trashed, and still is devastated. I’ve taken to including in all emails, “The news cycle is NOT your friend.”
That’s one of the reasons that Treme mattered to me such a great deal. News cycles be damned. Here was a bit of the story and it would outlive the news cycle and the ongoing issues here in New Orleans, you know, where everything’s alright now unless you lived in a now demolished housing project, or a now demolished-or-maybe-moved-elsewhere-with-roof-off-left-to-moulder MidCity house, or went to Houston and your house is gone so you stayed there–that place. The place where everything’s alright now.
Sorry for the rant.
The news cycle indeed! Hurricane Ike was superseded in the news by the national (and perhaps international) economic crisis.
Thanks for sharing this, Sam, and it’s great you can help people with advice and by getting their story out there.
I say rant away: we can learn from each other’s disasters. For example, in the aftermath of Katrina, Galveston (which had and has a similar population without transportation or without transportation that is capable of evacuating the city), got a list together of who would need bus transportation. The Rita evacuation was its own disaster (no fault of Galveston’s, but folks in non-threatened areas flooded the freeways due to their lack of understanding of what happened in Katrina/federal floods in New Orleans). FEMA, although not perfect, I think is better than it was at the time of Katrina. It was already better by the time of Ike even if FEMA paid me but their sub never paid for my hotel for the initial evacuation. Some folks will hate on me for accepting the aid: go ahead and hate on me, hater (in the words of Jill Scott).
Also, Hurricane Sandy victims need advocates: they are vulnerable and do not have the time to see, for the most part, what government and business both separately and together, may be doing to them.
Foxessa/C., I knew Mardi Gras and beads were in more places now, but I hadn’t connected that with the diaspora. Duh. I am more curious as to whether there are suddenly Second Line and Social Aid and Pleasure clubs elsewhere.
M. Christine, domestic violence, especially intimate partner abuse, is one of my top causes along with women’s rights in general and being against drunk driving. You’re doing 2 good things by helping with NoLa’s recovery and future survivors of domestic violence.
Sam — Thank you so much for the rant, a rant I’ve been doing for years since Katrina and now am doing about here. Two nights ago Partner in Crime was the auctioneer for a benefit to raise money for those who are still without any housing and are forced to stay in hotels without vouchers and so on — and how long does your savings — if you’ve got any — last doing that? A week, at most? It’s driving me crazy how local BigMedia such as the NY Times is either ignoring these things, or more elegantly, ‘sequestering’ the conditions in a less looked at sections of the paper — which, of course, most of the people most affected can’t get anyway.
Even here in Manhattan there are areas still without power. Now the one I know best that is close to me is the Washington Square area — no street lights, because the grid for some reason I don’t know still hasn’t been restored. So no annual Christmas tree and lights in the Park because, duh, no power. Not that this is exactly awful for this particular area (other than crime — but being where it is the cops pay a lot of attention), because it’s surrounded by NYU, maybe the most expensive university going these days, so they have ample resources and their power is fine. But that isn’t so for areas on the lower east side, out in Red Hook and a lot of areas of NYC. How bad it really was — the downtown end of Manhattan is still a wreck, the area where so many of the financial corps are — I have friends who work for those companies who are still working from home because there is nowhere for the corp to re-locate to. Now these are in a situation of ample resources also, and they’re getting their paychecks and so on so I’m not crying for them. But in Red Hook, in Long Island, in Staten Island, all over New Jersey — Holy Cow! These people need help and there are so many of them. It’s not a couple hundred, but like tens of thousands. And they don’t have jobs ongoing because where they worked is wiped out, small businesses, who don’t have anywhere to re-locate either, and don’t have the resources of the financial corps. And there is no housing stock, in a region in which it is hard to find a decent place to live even when you are employed and well off and there is no housing emergency — this is as bad as the refugee camps of Syrians in the winter who don’t have blankets or anything either.
I remain astonished at how little coverage, relatively speaking, any of this is getting here. Instead the focus is on Governor Cuomo heroically scolding LIPA for not doing its job in a timely fashion (while he’s dragged out filling empty positions for over a year) and going to D.C. and demanding 42 billion dollars in disaster relief. You know, BIG stories. And in the meantime they’re also beating the drums of admiration that the Hudson Yards development project, the biggest one since the days of Rockefeller, is getting going …. you know, over here, on the shore line of the Hudson River and the tide race …..
All of this is in Treme because it has all happened in New Orleans, is still going on in New Orleans, and has been going on here, but Hurray! the Storm has given us the cover to speed it all up now! Ain’t we lucky?
Sam, thank you for linking the “Unsolicited Advice” article here. I don’t get to many of the other NOLA related sites, and that was a must-read. A timeless piece. It is no wonder it was picked up by the press.
I just have to share — while out tonight a krewe of bike riders whizze past the corner where I stood for the light. All their bicycles were lit up with Christmas lights. I had to think the riders had seen that episode of Treme when Colson comes back home from Indianapolis, and woo — a bike all in lights takes off in front of him. And he smiles, so happy to be home where there are wonderful things that surpise you at all times.
In the meantime, while I was out getting some groceries for dinner, el V was at Dookie’s, where he sang for his supper was doing his presentation for One Book, One New Orleans program. And I was not.
However, as we see, these days, New Orleans, the good, the bad and the ugly, is all around!
Mark this may be the interview re Bubbles and Sonny. http://www.salon.com/2011/07/04/treme_season_2_david_simon_interview/ If this is the correct interview, not sure it predicts Sonny’s fall, as Simon says, Sonny’s “journey back requires more time, and it’s more of a journey.” So we’ll see. Note, too, that this interview was before the decision about Treme only having 3.5 seasons on 9/22/12.
Season three only started shooting October 31, 2011. That’s when Simon announced that he had emailed HBO that he was planning on 4 seasons. Before then, during the summer– after renewing Treme for a third season in May 2011–HBO implied an open order for as many seasons as Simon needed to tell the story. This led fans, especially local viewers, to imagine a 5 year arc, which would have taken us through the Saints Super Bowl victory, Landrieu’s election as mayor and the BP disaster.
That’s what I thought too, when reading that — this was about Bubbles, particularly, not about Sonny.
I just got caught up on the season today. Sorry I’ve been AWOL, real life has just kind of been kicking my ass lately.
I will confess to being the source of the “I rewound it 10 times” quote about seeing Annie jumping up and down in her bathrobe. I don’t think that’s a take that’s incompatible with liking strong woman characters or wanting more woman writers and directors, and I stand by it. I didn’t roll my eyes at Lt. Daniels walking around with his shirt off and his dress-left boners, so, y’know, fuck y’all.
As for Sonny, I don’t buy the notion that just because he’s not the model “special dope fiend” a la Bubbles that he is therefore doomed to a tragic end and to inevitably fucking up everything he touches. Most of us people in recovery just kind of muddle along being imperfect the rest of our lives, just like, oh, regular people. Hey, I smacked my girlfriend once too, many decades ago. I don’t think it makes me beyond redemption. Some people might, but fuck y’all.
The woman at the airport? Shallow? She was wearing “Decatur Street” brand Mardi Gras beads…in April…at the fucking airport. Hell yes she’s shallow. I’ve been spending way too much time doing the AUS/BWI/MHT circuit this year and I can tell you that the chances of the person standing next to you at the airport being remotely interesting is somewhere in the vicinity of Powerball odds. Six months of air travel and I can still remember the one time I walked past a girl reading Junot Diaz. It was that memorable. (If she looked my way she would have seen “creepy old guy who likes girls who jump up and down in bathrobes” and dismissed me as shallow which is IRONIC, but, well, fuck y’all.)
The season finale really brought back for me what a piece of shit 2008 was. Obama on the TV was the only good thing in an otherwise completely fucked-up year.
I should not post while high on Nyquil.
YES. That’s what we need: more cough-syrup comments.
I need something stronger. You holding? My sponsor has the flu too so now’s my chance.
I think I have some Dexalone if that’s what you’re seeking. Except — wait, no — sorry I think I ate that all. If you get really bored you might watch this http://rox.com/things/dxm/media/ for a brief history of my interactions with dextromethorphan.
Thursday night el V saw Antoine Baptiste on Frenchman’s hangin’ out with Antoine’s glint in his eye and talking to a chick. Where is Antoine’s trombone, el V goes to himself. Then — Wait! That is Wendell Pierce, not Antoine, this is really Frenchman’s, not a location.
After Treme, it’s getting kind of hard to tell the difference these days, at least for those of us who aren’t living in New Orleans 24/7.
One thinks though that if one is living in New Orleans 24/7 you don’t have those moments of confusion between life and television fiction.
I didn’t have those moments after season 1, but after season 2, I have. It’s like my eyes think I’m on a set and not back in the city. It’s very weird, and not at all comfortable. But it does go away after about three days, thank goodness.
Hyperreality. Jean Baudrillard predicted this and some parts of the country have seen plenty of it. New Orleans held out but we’re living it at last. C’est la vie.
Raynola, Lovely useless rant. But you being Raynola, 2 fuck y’alls surely were in order. Thanks for sharing your experience of physically harming a woman. Some men, like my husband of 18 years are strong, opinionated, creative, smart as a whip and non-violent. Boy I bet this little note will just send you into a rage. I know, fuck me. Oh yeah, I’m the one who works in Dometic Violence. That surely will earn me another fuck me.
It’s not something I’m proud of, eh? Non-violence does not run in my family and I have the scars to prove it, and to become the strong, opinionated, creative, smart as a whip non-violent father that I am required hard work. I’m happy that your life has been free of all that. Not all of us are so fortunate. Certainly in your line of work you have seen how the cycle perpetuates. I imagine you are more effective in your job on those days when you have compassion for those who have had to break the cycle with nothing but their fucking bootstraps to pull themselves out.
When I was a kid getting the shit knocked out of me, NOPD emergency dispatch didn’t want to send a unit around because they said I was old enough to stick up for myself. So much for “works in Domestic Violence”. I hear it’s different these days. Thanks for your service.
(seriously, those “fuck y’all’s” were not directed at anybody. have I been away so long people don’t remember how I talk?)
Yes, my life was free of violence however my daughter’s was not. In order to work in dv a background of violence or abuse is consider highly relevant. You have no idea how I’d love to see my ex-husband exposed in the town square. Evil has been done to one I love and this does make me very good at my work. I’m honored to work in a professtion where treating all equally and showing kindness, compassion and empathy are job requirements. Now I aim for humility because there is just to much of me, me, me in this world.
I aim for humility too, so sorry if my tone offended you. I just felt a little attacked there.
I tend to take issue with people who loved Bubbles but revile Sonny, as if Bubbles was Glinda the Good Dope Fiend and Sonny is the Wicked Dope Fiend of the West. I’ve probably done most of the bad things that Sonny has done, so if somebody finds his character beyond redemption, then they probably find me so as well. Almost nobody knows about the thing I just put out here tonight (TMI, I guess), but it was to make a point.
Bubbles is portrayed as some kind of “noble addict”, but really, was he? When he moved into his sister’s basement, she reminded him that she’s got locks on the doors and a baseball bat at hand if he so much as sets foot on those stairs. Where was that coming from? Likely from hard experience of the kinds of things Bubbles has done as a druggy. Bubbles has a past that is probably way more gruesome than what we saw in five seasons of The Wire. Bubbles is really no different from Sonny, he was just portrayed in a more flattering light. Sonny’s wrongs and his shame were put right out there for everybody to see, so if you want to buy into Sonny’s “hero’s journey” in recovery, you have to approach his character with more compassion, you have to extend more benefit of the doubt, you have to believe that it’s possible for somebody to have been a violent addict in the past but still be a kind, worthy, loving person in the present.
And if you are not willing to believe that, then you cast not only Sonny, but me and probably one or two other revered bloggers from our little world into eternal judgment.
As for my own past, the people who were directly involved have forgiven me, and the people who know and love me know about it and do not judge. And everybody else, seriously, ….well, you know….
Where I work we treat all the same. We don’t ask about addictions or other unhealthy coping skills. Some struggle with addiction and we can still feel love for them and sometimes we have a hand in helping those who really want help to get it. Again, I’d like to thank you all for your wonderful blog and being open to those who didn’t go through what you went through. It’s a blessing to be here now. Peace to you Raynola and for your personal sharing.
Hello, my name is Mark, and I rewound Annie bouncing on the bed several times. We know exactly how you talk now. Liking a fucking Canadian, eh? But I guess New Hampshire does that to a person. I was one of those thinking Sonny crashes and burns but that was thinking about plot, not judgmentally. Hell I was thinking about Bubbles and possibly the desire to do Sonny differently, to show both sides of the coin.Have you ever read RIGHTEOUS DOPEFIEND? Gotta Kindle? I’ll see if I can loan it to you. I think if I were going to teach a course on Addiction in Literature, that book and THE CORNER would be at the core of the reading/viewing list. I think about the people I know with their five and ten year tokens, and I think about the others who did’t make it A few people in DOPEFIEND make it, many don’t. Homeless on heroin is not pretty, but it is an amazing book when you read around the theory. (If you wanted to know where are all the Marxists in the academy you’ve heard so much about, they’re in the Anthropology Department).
Which is I guess to say I was definitely not in a head space to go after Sonny: too much personal experience and DOPEFIEND is an eye opening book. I only argued for veracity (New Orleans almost has to swallow somebody in that way) and thinking of him as an answer to Bubbles.
This is an amazing thread, now that we are at the two week mark of the Dope Will Get You Through Times of No Money Better Than Money Will Get You Through Times of No Dope withdrawal from Treme
Editor B — Jean Baudrillard … Excellent!
FWIW — I’m one of those who believes in Sonny, and always has — at least since season 2!
Again, Sonny’s got a whole lot more going for him than Bubbles ever did, just from the gitgo. It’s easier when you’re educated, white, young, good-looking and have skills. And if you’ve got something really worth working for. Just sayin’.
OTOH, I have known those who did have all that and failed too. But — and this is a big but — I know more who have succeeded than failed. As I say, I’m talking about people who do have a whole lot going for them that a street rat like Bubbles never did have. But then Bubbles was a smart fellow and his sense of self-preservation was huge, and he did have somewhere a core of decency.
I did a search for Decatur Street brand Mardi Gras beads and came up empty-handed; so, I assume you mean the plastic made-in-China Mardi Gras beads sold on Decatur Street (and Bourbon, and a few spots in between) in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
But do you mean those as opposed to another kind of Mardi Gras beads? Or is it just not the done thing to wear them, at the airport, while headed back home? Are there tourist vs. local beads? Even the parade throw beads are plastic and come from the same places in China as the beads on sale in the Vieux Carre, n’est-ce pas? Aren’t all the Czech (or whatever nationality) glass beads gone? I’ve heard of hand-strung and maybe even hand-painted Mardi Gras beads, but are there hand-made ones? Of something other than plastic? Clay, perhaps?
I mean that if you go back and look at that scene, the beads she is wearing have white lettered beads on them that read “DECATUR STREET”. Store bought. And worn out of season. Those are the bead equivalent of frozen Chinese crawfish.
Not that she’s beyond redemption. She probably didn’t score dope in St Roch while she was there. So there’s that.
(And I have been known to make etouffee out of season with frozen crawfish, so I am not without sin here. But always Louisiana crawfish. Never imported. Ever.)
And and sea chanties. Boy had gone native enough I took that for a serious diss. He may not have turned into a hpster second liner but he could spot phony.
Hey, Ray. Don’t worry. I keep this place running behind the scenes and almost everyday, but fear that if I publish a post, folks here will ask, “Who are you?” I’ll take one of those Fuck Y’alls and call you in the morning. This season also did not do it for me like the first two, not until the amazing bird’s-eye shot of Big Chief Lambreaux and his gang walking by the cemetery, which made me wonder what is wrong with me and why I would want to live anywhere else but New Orleans. Well, that’s a whole another post unto itself, isn’t it?
3Suns, there are a number of good science journal articles popping up about the effects of Corexit and other “cleaning” chemicals, now that scientists have had time to study and publish (what they were allowed to collect data-wise). Here’s a good one to start with: Numerical study suggests subsea injection of chemicals didn’t prevent oil from rising to sea surface. I can do a round-up of reads and, sure, a look at Valdez.
Gotcha, Ray and Mark. Thanks. Out of season. Although there are now beads for all occasions, for better or worse. I’ve been wondering where Ray was. Sorry about the bad Nyquil trip. LOL at Mark’s remark about Treme withdrawal. Glad M. Christine and Ray smoked the peace pipe. Maitri, I read the About and The Krewe. One should always know whose blog one is reading and posting on.
Airport girl was a sort of savvy tourist, getting out before Jazzfest, at least. Can sea shanties be considered roots music?
I don’t have Treme taped so can’t go back and watch, and it- ain’t-so-comcastic is no longer showing reruns. Is HBO Go free?
I wonder what the toxicity of foreign crawfish and shrimp, which is supposed to be very dirty and contaminated, is compared to BP seafood? I’ll have me some of that deformed shrimp remoulade at the Gumbo Shop, please.
Beth: HBO Go is free as long as you’re an HBO subscriber.
Ray has dextromethorophan but I have my own truth serums. One of these days when “real life” calms down, I’ll spill my guts on how much I am in love with the Big Chief and LaDonna (separately, not together) and what Janette (diluted by the Sam Robards character and awkward kitchen banter for its own sake) and Annie (diluted by meh vocals and to the point that I preferred Davis scenes) didn’t do for me.
Prove me wrong before I start to write something.
And there you go.
To the Krewe, You are all awesome. I read about Ray but did not know he was Raynola. My apologies, sir. I guess having a love of Treme, the tv show, doesn’t qualify newcomers to spout out. But I will continue to read because I love all of your posts.
Thanks again guys for following and discussing. We’re all short timers from here on out, but 36 hours of a story about ordinary people in a relatively extraordinary place is, I think, the frontier of take-it-and-run country. Don’t know when the last five hours will air, but we hope you’ll all be around to roll up the last call sheet and smoke it with us.
David and Eric and George and Nina, cast, crew.
For those who thought they might be seeing Annie T again — here she is, in season 3.5, according to an extra’s blog on the Offbeat site:
Thanks, Foxessa. Annie T must return so that her character can crash and burn a little.
Maitri, thanks for the link, and great to hear your too-brief thoughts on the season. Would love to hear more. Missed your input this season, but figured life must be busy.
Ray, thank you for your insights.
Hey Ray, I miss “your fuck y’all’s”. I guess I have to say that “I get it now”. “your fuck y’all’s” have addded to my life, understanding and communications skills. Miss you.
Also, GBitch’s blog links to this blog, which has updates on the debacle. http://www.savecharityhospital.com/
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