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Au Contraire, Mon Frère

April 13, 2010

Before you read this post, first go read Jeffrey’s post about why he didn’t like Treme. We are mostly a collection of partisans of both David Simon and New Orleans, so I think a contrarian view is appropriate about right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


I was perhaps five years old the first time I saw Mardi Gras Indians.

I grew up in the green shelter of Lake Vista, my experience of black people limited to the minstrel clowns of the Three Stooges turned white in fright, to Amos and Andy, to Sylvia our part time maid shared with our grandmother who did as much as anyone to raise me, to JoJo the handyman who seemed to a small boy perhaps ten feet tall, black as an Indian demon, always dressed in bibs and boots with a wife beater under, his look exactly the character from The Green Mile. When I rode the streetcar downtown with my grandmother to go shopping there were few Blacks on the old Canal Streetcar, and they moved to the back as reflexively deferential as anyone else I might encounter on Canal Street that afternoon.

My Aunts Gert and Sadie Folse lived in an apartment on Royal Street now the Hove’ Parfumier and that is where we spent Mardi Gras day until they moved back to Thibodaux to die. Driving down Canal Street one Carnival Day the Indians appeared, beaded bird creatures out of childhood picture books, standing on the corner of I think Galvez (probably Galvez) and Canal. My father pulled over, and while my mother sat in rigid fear in the front passenger seat my father stepped out of the car, with the children around him, and we watched, until they turned and went back into the neighborhood.

It was the last time I saw them until I came home to New Orleans in 2006.

Yes, the city is as full of hipsters as it ever was, the same sort of people who kept the Beats at home and not in the bars and coffee shops of North Beach Saturday nights in the late fifties, the same sort who flooded the Haight in 1967 looking for something already dying. I don’t think I am one of those. I don’t think my father was either, although he was fond of berets and guayaberas and painted in oils and hoped to retire someday to the fence at Jackson Square. He also risked his career as an architect mostly paid from public contracts–by the firm that built the main library and the Superdome and a dozen other notable late modern buildings around town–to stand up against the Riverfront Expressway. As chairman of the local A.I.A., he offered to debate the head of the group that eventually became the Downtown Development District on WWL-TV, an offer declined. Was he a hipster, or one of the preservationist crowed who prefer their Indian suits under glass at the New Orleans Museum of Art? Perhaps. Did he intended (by thwarting the riverfront expressway) to destroy Claiborne Avenue? I don’t think so.

He was just a man entranced by a magical city (not his own; he came up as young man from Thibodaux much as my daughter came down here at fourteen); a man who would not gladly see it ruined; a man who would stop where my mother silently signaled she was sure we should not, so that he and his children could have a taste of that magic back when it was still a forbidden fruit.

That I can now park on the Claiborne Neutral Ground on Super Sunday and stand and watch the Indians pass, all of us comfortable in our own skin, that I can take my son down to Taylor Park after: what does that mean? I think it says something about the state of race relations in 2010 than anything else, and speaks a little to the solidarity born of the Federal Flood. If I go to Super Sunday am I a hipster, someone leaching off of another’s culture? If you go to Rome, are you someone leching off of another person’s culture? I don’t think so.

You can view Simon’s take on New Orleans as the exploitation of a hipster in from out of town, or you can take it as an artistic act of love for a magical place. I prefer the latter r view, and believe I can sustain it in argument. I can’t think of a single moment that was genuinely exploitative (unless we’re going to count product placement). The word that comes to mind is reverential, and I think that approach bothers some people. It implies the mindset of the die-hard preservationist who will not change a screw or a nail lest the authenticity all fall down in a heap at his feet. I don’t detect anything in Simon’s statements or the first episode to make me thing that. He is an artist, out to create something about our city, set in our city.

I’ve addressed the whole “how dare he” idea already. (Fuck Zola. Fuck Dickens. &c.)

As to some of Jeffrey’s other criticisms, I simply suggested he was misjudging how a show of this many hours should operate. It does not run on sitcom time or cop show time. It is novelistic in its scope. One way to open something of this length is by focusing on characters as beautiful or as ugly as any fishing lure, and bright with hooks to catch the viewer and bring them into the slowly unfolding story. That is why we get the clownish David McAlary and the pathetic Antoine Batiste, to help drag us into the story. If we fail to do so, then the teacher or police officer or other “real people” Jeffrey laments are not represented have no chance to have their story told, because their will be no viewers, no series, no chance to go deeper into the narrative and present those characters.

That is pretty basic whether you are writing a novel or a television series or an epic poem if you were into that sort of thing. Explain, goddess, exactly what the f–k Achilles and Agamemnon are up to why don’t you, right there in the first chapter? Or find some other way to get us into the story? (That’s probably a bad example, as most epics started as storytelling and most people knew what was going to happen before the singer began. But you get the idea.) Ed.’s. Note: G.B. has addressed accumulation already but I’m leaving the above in so I’m not up all night re-writing.

My take is that Simon gave us first the characters that fill his stringer with enough viewers to tell the much larger story in his head, and through that story (and the place it occurs in) we will see parades of all sorts of other characters. I share Jeffrey’s wish that some of them be cops and school teachers and parents with children and the elderly and everyone who’s been touched in some special way by the flood, that this will grow like the Wire into many stories set in this place, tied together by a common setting and a common experience of 8-29.

But we can’t get there without hooking viewers, and unlike Jeffery I find no fault with the way Simon is going about it. I am comfortable because he is not a hipster, or a creative class capitalist or any of that other ilk who pass through telling us what we’re doing wrong. And I don’t think he’s a one-upping Big Chief pass holder or you not have seen the Jockomo sign at Vaughns or any of the other “oh, it’s not really like that” little bits. A true hipster would never set something at Vaughns in the first place, and let the whole world in on it. That’s someplace the hipster takes dates and friends from out of town to establish his essential hipness. You can’t let the whole world in on it or you’ve blown your whole act.

Hipsters are cultural leaches, who come to live vicariously the creative and expressive lives of others, to shop in the mall of art and culture wherever they land and appropriate the approved styles of the moment. They do not create; they consume. As they consume, they do not grow but shrink, shedding bit by bit whoever they really are to become another instance of the approved, their only claim to fame being the first to jump down the trend hole.

Am I a hipster because I got to Super Sunday or listen to jazz and dance to funky brass bands, because I wear hats and only shop at Meyers? Or am I passe’ because I still love the Maple Leaf (the one from long ago with the juke box that had the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 on it, that I would play on a Saturday night with all the obnoxious airs of Davis McWhatzizname because it was like a line of musical coke), I still go there because it’s just as cool now as when you might run into James Booker or Everette Maddox there, but you don’t because they’re dead. Do I shop for hats at Meyer’s so I can sneer about if you bought your’s somewhere else or because I learned from my father you are either at Acme man or a Felix’s man, and I am an Acme man? You’ll have to be the judge of that. I think I am simply my father’s son, as best I can tell.

I fail to understand how anyone could mistake Simon, based on the work we all saw this past weekend, of being a exploitative hipster. I genuinely believe in my heart that he is the sort of man my father was, doing his work in the world and when some bit of beauty presented itself–the Mardi Gras Indians at the corner of Galvez and Canal, or some subject for a painting– he took it into his soul and grew and somewhere that beauty came back out, and made the world a better place, the sort of person hipsters wish they were and come to feed from like leeches.

— wet bank guy

  1. April 13, 2010 11:27 pm

    I love the Mardi Gras indian angle. That chief emerging from the darkness was chilling. So cool, so confident, so pretty.

    Is that real? Could it have actually happened in New Orleans “three months after”? Who the hell cares? This is a TV show, not a documentary.

    As a dramatic piece, let me tell you what I see in that Mardi Gras indian. His emergence from the dark represents New Orleans emerging from its darkness. While all around the city is silent, spookily quiet as I recall it, this man comes down the street singing a song of life and defiance. While all around the city is brown and muted in mud, this man comes down the street in the giddy lightness of brightly colored plumes. While all around the city is struggling to survive for the next dollar, the next meal, the next day of work, this man comes down the street dressed in the trans-generational costume of a Mardi Gras indian to remind everyone that this is not about place–it’s about people, past and present.

    And this man knows that without a thorough understanding of the past and a firm vision of the future, no amount of money or effort will save the city of New Orleans.

    That’s what I saw Sunday night on HBO. Was it real? Could it have actually happened that way? Who the hell cares! I saw and I understood the metaphor.

    Hipster or not, I saw and I understood.



  2. Kevin permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:13 am

    As realistic as the show is in some respects, it needs dramatic license, symbolism, visual synecdoche, just as any good play, TV show or movie does.

    ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ was brilliant. It didn’t matter that it was built on an unrealistic conceit or that the characters were American archetypes more than realistic individuals; it still was brilliant.

    Or, to take a real-life example: Did the real-life Roy Cohn really cross paths and parry wits with a black drag queen nurse in a hospital? Unlikely, but without that you wouldn’t have ‘Angels in America.’

    ‘Glengarry’ told a lot of truths about American salesmanship, capitalism, masculinity, and the way our egos are sadly tied to our jobs, defining us.

    ‘Angels’ set the AIDS crisis against a backdrop of manifest destiny, Jewish guilt, obligation and self-loathing, and the historic perspective of plagues.

    Hell, if you can have a Mafia boss on an analyst’s couch for five years (and the Mafiosi all said that was the single most unrealistic thing about ‘The Sopranos’), you can have a reasonably realistic show about New Orleans after the flood (though Jeffrey and others may disagree as to its realism) and still have a magical Mardi Gras Indian coming through the darkness once in a while.

    At least I hope so.

  3. April 14, 2010 10:36 am

    Enjoyed your post. I spent part of my childhood in New Orleans and thought the first episode of Treme started where it should— by setting up the rhythm of the folks who live there. A lot of people are always quick with their I’m-too-cool-for-da-room criticisms. Treme had the natural air of a great story and I can’t wait to watch the rest of it.

  4. April 14, 2010 11:28 am

    Thanks for that. You know I have an issue with the term “hipster” and while I spent part of yesterday trying to compose something about my issue with that term and how it was applied in this instance, you wrote what I was thinking only better.

  5. jeffrey permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:47 am

    Wait a minute. Now not only do I have to let go of all applications of the word “douche” but I can’t have “hipster” anymore either? What the hell? I’m running out of lazy catch-all epithets over here. Pretty soon I’ll be reduced to just flipping everybody off.

    Here, once more, is the short version of what I think was my point. What I’m inadequately labeling hipsterism is an emerging demand for a more and more narrowly defined “authentic New Orleans experience” among a peculiar variety of upper class tourist/adventurer which has affect of both cheapening that experience as it exists but also making it less and less accessible or recognizable to those of us who grew up around it. Neighborhoods gentrify. Cheap apartments become condos or timeshares. Your working-class population is supplanted by part time bi-coastal Manhattanites and such. And then one day you wake up and realize you’re no longer living in the same place anymore either because you can’t afford or because it simply doesn’t exist but as a weak facsimile of itself.

    When I watched Treme, it looked to me like the sort of advertisement one would design to lure the above-described locusts to this “city that lives in the imagination of the world” or at least in somebody’s imagination.

    Anyway, thanks for listening. I can’t wait until episode 2 so we can move on to talking about something other than how wrong I am for a while.

  6. April 14, 2010 11:56 am

    No chance the blogger dozens is ever going to end, not as long as you have the likes of Peter and I around.

    Yes, Treme could be construed as an advertisement for disaster, something like The Charleston Miracle. If it lures the sort of people who truly love New Orleans to visit or even settle here, we’ll just have to make a special effort to drive the poseurs out. They’re pretty easy to spot. We could just offer a Crapsinthe special somewhere one night, chloroform them all and toss them on a passing boxcar.

  7. April 14, 2010 11:56 am

    I enjoyed your post and thought Jeffrey’s post was emblematic of New Orleanians lack of awareness of how they are viewed around the world. As someone who spent 25 years in NOLA and the last three out of state, you come to realize that people don’t understand that there is a different rhythm to living in New Orleans. Anyone who has seen “The Wire” can also tell you that David Simon will explore every nook and cranny of New Orleans culture if given the chance. He tells stories from several different angles. It may be the musicians, the DJ, the Professor, the Chef and the bar owner this year, but next season I would bet anything that he starts to include police officers and more importantly children. The way he explored the inner workings of children in the drug game of Baltimore was one of the most impressive things about The Wire and I would bet the house that he addresses the ways that children came back to NOLA after the storm to find their childhoods changed forever. Jeffrey needs to give the show an entire season and then let us know what he thinks.

  8. April 14, 2010 11:56 am

    I said it on Humid City once and I’ll say it here: I long for the days when “hipster” referred to a type of underwear or a style of jeans.

  9. April 14, 2010 11:57 am

    Oooh, one big ol’ Hipsterpolitan sticky trap, eh?

  10. April 14, 2010 12:06 pm

    I think Jefferey is Right On.
    And I am really enjoying this blog too.
    Congratulations, Y’all, on the Hat Tip from the NYTs!

    There were lines that made me wretch, scenes almost like who can make the sunrise.
    But there is also a beauty to the scenery that carries in from the background, that cannot be denied. Just my emotions talking I guess and I have no intention of jumping on Simon (yet) any more than any bloggers bold enough to call it as they see it. The main reason is that I cannot think of another Artist that I would want telling this story than David Simon. We’ve all seen how bad it can get. We have to give him the same room we give any other real artist in this town.

    I think the Hipster Hordes are coming regardless of David Simon’s Noble Effort here.
    And I agree 100% with Jefferey that this show will hasten their frenzy. And they will come to feed, and perhaps breed. But this city will take them and either punch their ticket and let them ride or leave them lost and broken in some labyrinthine courtyard of their own making. Nobody’s got THE Ticket To Ride here.

    We know he has to get dirtier than this. Much dirtier.

    Thanks again for this great post. We also hung y’all onto our list of Stitch’hikas.

  11. ferngrrl permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:09 pm

    Jeffrey, I think that many of your points are right on the mark, though I don’t agree with your conclusions. And, for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and look forward to the next episodes.

    Some of us have watched the selling of “New Orleans” take increasingly Disney-like paths since the 1970s (at least), and bemoan the loss of the genuine this-and-that. The city simply has nothing to sell and very few jobs that pay well enough for well-educated people to stay here. So it’s been selling what’s easy to sell.

    It’s a lot like the pros and cons about gentrification. Sometimes it simply comes down to this: either the neighborhood will continue to deteriorate because people either can’t or won’t take care of their homes and neighborhood, or someone will invest in it (which will change things).

    I tell ya, I drive down St. Charles and see all those huge mansions for sale–those were like fairy tale castles to us when I was a kid, landmarks in the imagination–and I wonder what their futures will be.

    We need contrarian views articulated, and we need to proceed fairly and cautiously as possible. We need to learn how to share the many cultures that we have here, and also to do it wisely. Find the best balance, because nothing is all good or all bad.

  12. Kevin permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:10 pm

    My preferred style of wallet was always called ‘hipster’ because it lay flat on the hip (it’s shaped like a passport case rather than a bi- or trifold wallet). Let’s reclaim it!

  13. April 14, 2010 1:13 pm

    I would prefer to be referred to as a “hep cat” thanks.

    Mark Folse Toulouse Street — Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans “You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.” –Rastaman the Griot

  14. ferngrrl permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:16 pm

    Agreed. Very moving, haunting, esp so close to the Louis Prima song.

    But I also really enjoyed, on a blog somewhere, one person’s idea of what a more realistic conversation in that scene would have been like. Something along the lines of “What are you doing dancing around in that feather suit after curfew? Get your ass in the house before you get us both shot by the National Guard.” Cracked me up.

    Too bad they weren’t able to include stranded and abandoned animals and one or two of those rescue efforts. Maybe they will later.

  15. April 14, 2010 12:42 pm

    This has been going on since the Sound & Light Show proposalfor Jackson Square. Most of you probably don’t remember that, but all of the necessary wiring was put in place underground when they reflagged around Jackson Square.

    Mark Folse Toulouse Street — Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans “You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.” –Rastaman the Griot

  16. jeffrey permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:49 pm

    Another thing I’m not sure I made clear enough is that I see the flood and “recovery” such as it is as an accelerant of the same forces that have been in place for a bit longer than the past quarter century now. I’ve been around since the 70s and so the New Orleans I’ve known is best defined as one long progress of things that “ain’t dere no more”

    As a symptom of the deterioration of post-industrial urban America, it isn’t exactly unique to New Orleans, but it does affect us in peculiar ways. Given his reputation, Simon should be exactly the right person to find a way to examine these issues in the setting he has chosen. But I haven’t seen any evidence that Treme will do anything other than exacerbate things.

  17. April 14, 2010 1:16 pm

    “it is as an accelerant of the same forces that have been in place for a bit longer than the past quarter century now”

    D said exactly this last night, except in relation to the thinking that New Orleans was on the decline anyway, the flood (was caused by) and only hastened that decline. We see it up here in Ohio (and being this close to Detroit), too, but folks here happily go about their daily lives in denial.

  18. April 14, 2010 2:15 pm

    Maitri, the Flood was caused by Engineering Failure.
    That is the crux of the biscuit with Treme. Is it live or is it Memorex?
    The Flood was cause by Bad Engineering, not by cracks in our social sidewalks.
    It was NOT the Culture of New Orleans that caused devastation New Orleans. Not in any shape form or fashion.
    Civil Engineering is definitively Non-Cultural. It works or it Fails.
    It may help define a Culture of Preparedness. But the Culture does not define the Engineering.
    You of all people know this.
    We are here together now because the Engineering Failed.
    It is that goddamn simple, and it is the goddamn simple view that it would be sacrilege to eat Lemon Ice anywhere but a place that has changed hands (at least) Twice in the last couple of decades that bothers me about this first episode. I don’t know a New Orleanian in their right mind who would contradict the Chef in such circumstances with them out there at the table giving personal service like that. You might but I don’t. There is still a code in this town and it is called manners. And after all of that Boo’rah about the Hubig Pie, we didn’t even get to see how they dressed it up? Damn. I was looking forward to that.

  19. ferngrrl permalink
    April 14, 2010 3:09 pm

    Hmmm. About the lemon ice scene: it certainly did seem that the chef, the attorney, and the professor were on at least casual speaking terms, given that the chef replied, to attorney’s question, “Don’t ask me about my f-ing house.”

    But you’re right: if you are not regulars who know the chef, it would be rude to contradict a recommendation; in this case, one probably ought to simply say thanks no thanks.

    Sometimes places change hands. Banting’s Nursery did. Changing hands does not mean that the place goes bad, or that patrons are less loyal–more skeptical at first, yes, as we test the “new” place out. Things change.

    Now, let’s talk about SidMar’s. I’d love to go, but now that they’re in a “new” location, I can’t seem to do it. I know it’s not their fault, but part of going and being there was, well, the location. It didn’t change *hands* but it changed locations (by necessity).

  20. ferngrrl permalink
    April 14, 2010 3:13 pm

    We’ll see. More people are talking, I think, and not just on blogs. Simon said some interesting things in that CNN interview, things that pertain directly to your remarks above about urban decay etc. Yep, N.O. was rotting from the inside out for many years before the storm. It may have slowed, but it hasn’t stopped. Kids with guns dealing drugs on my block–cops trying but can’t stop it … and these kids don’t care a whit about second lines, jazz, or New Orleans.

  21. April 14, 2010 4:15 pm

    It is that goddamn simple, and it is the goddamn simple view that it would be sacrilege to eat Lemon Ice anywhere but a place that has changed hands (at least) Twice in the last couple of decades that bothers me about this first episode.

    I’ll contradict the chef all the time if it’s for something important and if I’m a regular, and if they’re a good chef, they’ll immediately suggest an alternative that’s more to my liking. Which is what she did.

    As for “a place that has changed hands (at least) Twice in the last couple of decades”, the historical record pretty much indicates that the change in ownership didn’t do anything to lessen people’s love for the place as a treasured landmark during the period in question:

    Brocatos reopening

    which makes it eminently reasonable that a New Orleanian patriot would not only fast out of loyalty, but would gladly talk about it with a chef that he was personally acquainted with. AshMo himself was especially vocal about his allegiance to certain restaurants, like Dunbar’s and Dooky Chase and K-Paul’s, for instance.

    I mean, come on, don’t we constantly and I mean ALL the fucking time talk about our favorite foods, our food recommendations, our food loyalties, our food prejudices, how our neighborhood sno-balls are better than your neighborhood’s sno-balls, Parkway kicks Domilise’s ass, etc etc etc etc?

    Hell, my kids only got to live there for three years and they wouldn’t touch a non-Hubig’s fruit pie now if you paid them.

  22. adrastosno permalink
    April 14, 2010 4:32 pm

    Don’t you be dissing Domilise’s or Hansen’s for that matter. I think I just proved Ray’s point.

  23. April 14, 2010 4:39 pm

    Even when I lived a block away from Plum Street, I’d drive all the way over to Tchoup to get a real Sno-Bliz from Ms. Ashley.

    I’ll take Guy’s over Domilise’s, though.

    Are we getting off-topic?

    “Ineligible food tangent down-field, five yard penalty, no gumbo party for you!”

  24. April 14, 2010 5:45 pm

    There is that. Thanks Ray.
    I don’t eat anything but a Hubig, except for the fired pies at Payne’s BBQ in Memphis.
    But my point is that it is still that goddamn simple that but for Engineering Failure we would not be here now having this conversation. Everyone here would still be wrapped up in their insular cool world, which is of course fine.
    But I have a problem when someone pretties-up what happened here on 8/29/05 —and I don’t care if they beg off to Fiction as Simon is doing.
    The Reality of that first year went Way Beyond Fiction and deserves a dirtier treatment. As a writer I hope you understand what I’m saying there, because I’m having some trouble with it. I mean, Hubig wasn’t even MAKING PIES then. Everything was FUCKED UP. And Nothing seems that Fucked Up in this opening show.
    I’m sick of people glossing over the FUCK UP.

  25. April 14, 2010 5:48 pm

    Mrs. Wheat. But meat ain’t fruit.

  26. April 14, 2010 6:44 pm

    Editilla: I said, “in relation to the thinking that New Orleans was on the decline anyway, the flood (was caused by) and only hastened that decline.” As in people think this. I didn’t say “my thinking” or “the fact.” Again, these folks don’t say New Orleans culture led to levee failures, but infrastructure deterioration (which they see as being endemic only to New Orleans or Louisiana, but is actually a post-industrial American phenomenon, of which New Orleans seems to have been on the early receiving end).

    Also, my statement was in response to Jeffrey’s previous comment that the “flood and ‘recovery’ such as it is as an accelerant of the same forces that have been in place for a bit longer than the past quarter century now. I’ve been around since the 70s and so the New Orleans I’ve known is best defined as one long progress of things that ‘ain’t dere no more.'”

    You know better than anyone not to put words in people’s mouths and talk down to them as you just did.

  27. April 14, 2010 7:57 pm

    Ok, my apologies. I felt like I was talking up to you. Always do.
    Your statement seemed so definitively put, Maitri. You didn’t say “As in people think this.” I didn’t put anything in your mouth, but I can see where you are coming from with that.
    It is great for you to clarify, in hindsight, what you said. But you didn’t say all of that in the foresight. You just rolled it and I reacted.
    Again, my apologies.
    It is a fact that New Orleans culture did not have a knat’s ass to do with those engineering failures. That is a difference which makes a difference worth noting at all times when telling this story.
    You know better than anyone that Good Science Matters.

  28. April 14, 2010 8:03 pm

    Furthermore, I was waiting tables in Pat O’s during the Police Strike of ’79.
    That is why I mostly agree with Jefferey.
    I don’t buy this horse shit.

  29. April 14, 2010 8:18 pm

    It’s all good. I just wish folks, including myself, would ask for clarification from those we know can’t possibly think something before chiding them for thinking it. Assume the best, fight the worst, that sort of thing.

    But, there is one point we must not lose here: The levee failures didn’t cause themselves. The culprit wasn’t New Orleans culture or our bon-temps-laissez-faire attitude, but a nation as a whole resting on past laurels and coasting into the future, business as usual. The 80-20 solution, the cut corners, looking the other way, that which gets us through to the end with quantity not quality.

  30. April 14, 2010 8:27 pm

    And listen, I’m gone.
    I didn’t come here to pick on y’all or be the asshole. Really.
    One thing about Reality: it can and will go fuck itself.

  31. April 14, 2010 9:03 pm

    Ain’t nothing off topic about Snow Balls in New Orleans, Mon.
    I’m tollin’ya, metaphor is Alive in this town.

  32. April 14, 2010 11:33 pm

    The comments posted are very interesting. I am looking forward to them by Episode 10. Mrs. Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc…”Desiree”

  33. Jonathan permalink
    April 15, 2010 8:27 am

    I see your points Jeffrey, but at the same time, I think you are missing a few points as well. This is a tv show #1, it’s meant to capture the imagination of people that have no idea what or how New Orleans is. I grew up in New Orleans but I live in another state. Ive seen how the country treated New York, you cant even tell 9/11 ever happened, Ive been home 4x since Katrina and it still looks like shit in certain areas and you know it. The talking of food and Mardi Gras are just things the general public are barely aware of, the show is trying to draw people in from a stand point of ignorance and trying to show them that New Orleans IS more than that. Cmon, you didnt like Goodman when he was asking the British reporter “You dont like the food, You dont like the city, You dont like anything…WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU HERE? Is HBO commercializing this and turning it into a series that can sucker people in, cuz you know people love to watch other people suffer or make mistakes or screw up. I applaud HBO for bringing this story to the air, everyone remembers 9/11, who the fuck remembers 8/29???? Its a story, the dialogue is trying to just get people into the enviroment. No one talks like that that I know from New Orleans, but people outside of New Orleans ask about that shit all the time. I do appreciate that you have a contrasting perspective, but Treme aint one episode, its many, and with many there are plenty of stories about regular people like you and me. I cant wait to see what they do with CHARITY Hospital, that place was an institution, what happened during Katrina should never be forgotten, if this is the only way to do it and bring some boost to the economy down there with work and showcasing New Orleans for tourism, then why you bitchin? Cuz it dont have folks, regular folks like you and me? Sit back brother and open a cold one and just watch a story. Be happy you in a place that has seen so much wrong that something is finally goin right, at least the general public is laughin, hootin and enjoyin the fact that we see New Orleans or rather N’awlins on tv. Is it right or wrong? who cares man, its putting N’awlins in the mind of the nation, isnt that something even greater than complaining about food references and dialogue. Getting into the hearts and minds of folks, no matter how they do, is more important.

  34. April 15, 2010 8:40 am

    (which they see as being endemic only to New Orleans or Louisiana, but is actually a post-industrial American phenomenon, of which New Orleans seems to have been on the early receiving end).

    and infrastructure maintenance is paid for with taxes (and government appropriations from other sources sometimes), you know those bad ol socialist commie taxes and nazi gubmint that so many people – all over America- think are evillll.

    And then there’s the all – too- common strain of corruption involved with who actually hands out that money and to which select approved contractors and who allows those contractors to be in the pool and who approves their bids (and blah blah blah all the way down through the supply chain).

    And that’s how we spell infrastructure decay. Ain’t nobody said a goddamn thing about NOLA culture.

  35. April 18, 2010 12:09 am

    Oh, I wish I was in New Orleans
    I can see it in my dreams
    Arm in arm down Burgundy
    A bottle and my friends and me.

  36. April 18, 2010 5:50 am

    If Elvis Costello can get multiple cameos, let’s hope this song is not far off from making an appearance.

    Mark Folse Toulouse Street — Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans “You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.” –Rastaman the Griot

  37. MAdrone permalink
    April 27, 2010 6:50 pm

    I am not sure if I i am a hipster but i sure dress like one.

    The problem is i am from the midwest; michigan exactly.

    “Authentic” where my neighborhood could be a variety of things. I cold be slangin dope. I could hang out at the rescue mission with my cousins. Go to prison with my old buds. Get some girls pregnant and hang out at the bar drinking blatz. That job at the factory wasnt bad until it pooped out.

    Instead I chose to buy some polyester pants from the goodwill, find out about some good books and music that wasnt iron fucking maiden, drink beer that tasted good, learn to eat things that didnt come from a drive through, and damnit maybe if i can get my loans in order I hope to get a job in academia….(everyone i know in michigan is unemployed from their “authentic” jobs like I was until I went to school)

    I think I hate these mysterious hipsters too. they sound like real effete pieces of shit, but placing so much ire on them seems rather ridiculous. If they are so inconsequential why do they make us so mad? Seems like hating hipsters is just one more way for white people to protect their own threatened “authenticity”
    Does any of this make any sense?

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