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Death, Family and Music

May 5, 2010

The Foot Of Canal Street was probably my favorite slice of Treme yet. There were so many satisfying moments and interesting character developments some of which I can give credit to my countryman, George Pelecanos.

Okay, here are a few scattershot comments and skewed observations:

I like where they took Antoine’s character. He was more than a court jester this time around: his interactions with his sons and their stepfather were a high point. Dr. Larry’s family may be snobby Creoles but he’s a good man. He not only fixed Antoine’s teeth gratis, he made sure that the prodigal father spent time with his sons. Of course, those kids seem to have fallen in love with chain restaurants, which may require an intervention. There are, actually, some pretty good local eateries in Red Stick. It is in Louisiana, after all.

Another family moment I enjoyed was Albert’s dinner with the kid and his mama. Albert seems ready to take the kid under his wing. As a Chief he’s a patriarch to his core so this makes sense. Besides, mama is not only attractive, she’s an excellent cook. There’s a whiff of romance in the air; walking hand in hand with Albert’s mentoring compulsion.

Death and family intersect with the story of the wild man’s funeral. Albert is informed that he’s not to speak, chant or otherwise remind anyone that he’s a MG Indian. Why? The wild man’s mama never liked her son being an Indian. This story rings true to me. One of Dr. A’s former co-workers had been Zulu Queen BUT she considered the Indians to be thugs and roughnecks. It’s a common belief among middle class black folks of a certain age. Albert gulped but agreed to comply with the family’s wishes thereby disproving the notion that there’s something disreputable about this particular chief.

I’ve always thought of the foot of Canal Street as being by the river downtown but they’ve flipped that on its head. But the more I pondered the idea, I decided why not? The other end of Canal is the cemetery zone and we were all a bit morbid in December, 2005. Beyond the people who perished during and right after the storm, many elderly people simply lost the will to live in those difficult days. Life was *that* hard even for people who didn’t lose everything.

We even got to see the kinder and gentler side of Creighton as he padded about the house in his bathrobe and waxed sentimental about an ornament made by his daughter when she was a wee lassie. Of course, Toni seems alarmed by her husband’s apparent depression and urges him to get out and about, which happens when he gives Davis a ride to his car, which was swallowed by a gynormous pothole. Talk about realistic.

Putting Creighton’s rants on YouTube was an inspired idea. It means that the cult of Creighton will spread hither and yon even faster than the posts of Ashley Morris from whence they largely come. I tend to agree with Hana that Ashley had an almost eerie ability to *look* deranged when spouting off as you can see from this picture taken by our mutual friend LisaPal at the 2007 Krewe du Vieux “ball.”

Finally, music. The weakest part of the episode was the African American Jazz glitterati party in Manhattan. It left me cold but the idea of a Delmond Lambreaux/Donald Harrison Jr. tour is inspired. It was also fun to see another member of the David Simon stock company. Welcome to Treme, Prezbo. I also love the actor’s real name, Jim True-Frost. It rolls off one’s tongue.

Who among us didn’t enjoy the look on Sonny’s face when he was bumped in favor of Joe Krown? Joe proceeded to show why he’s the best keyboard player in Debrisville. I know Joe and he’s a sweetheart so I’m glad he got a few lines this time around.

Annie seems to be blossoming as a fiddler who’s getting indoor gigs without her dour partner, Sonny. Lucia Micarelli is fast becoming one of my favorite players on Treme. She’s a helluva violinist in real life; way too good to play for tips at the Square or on Frenchmen Street.

Here’s Lucia playing Kashmir with Ian Anderson and an orchestra. This proves what a fine fiddler Lucia is: Ian is a notorious perfectionist and Lucia toured with Tull in 2006-7. Good stuff, y’all:

  1. May 5, 2010 12:23 pm

    Ashley was literally foaming at the mouth in that picture because I had brought him some Zots, the candy with the fizzy stuff in the center. He really liked those.

  2. adrastosno permalink
    May 5, 2010 12:41 pm

    I remember. I was there. It was hilarious.

  3. May 5, 2010 1:15 pm

    ” … The weakest part of the episode was the African American Jazz glitterati party in Manhattan. It left me cold but the idea of a Delmond Lambreaux/Donald Harrison Jr. tour is inspired. It was also fun to see another member of the David Simon stock company. Welcome to Treme, Prezbo.”

    Yes, I thought so too. Partly, perhaps because it was shot in New Orleans, rather than in NYC? With these guys the place is all. Just like the scenes of Generation Kill didn’t work that were shot in Africa, with Mozambique and Tanzania and Namibia standing in for the Middle east and the Africans standing in for Iraqis immediately registered as ‘you are doin’ it rong here.’

    Yeah, Prezbo sighting!

    Something that wasn’t caught, despite watching it twice — why was Sonny was asked to go along on this gig since he played what, on two songs, and as far as I could tell — *bad vision* — his bandmates stayed on stage.

    Love, C.

  4. liprap permalink
    May 5, 2010 2:06 pm

    I always thought the foot of Canal was by the river, too.

    And this was a darned good episode.

  5. May 5, 2010 10:52 pm

    The Manhattan party scene I think was intentionally cold and sterile and pretentious, to contrast it with all the warm fuzzy we’ve seen up til now in the New Orleans music and party scene. Even relatively low-rent music industry parties up there are God-awful, make a New Orleans boy want to run home screaming. I would imagine they filmed it in New York since they definitely filmed the earlier “monogamy with exceptions” scene there.

    And the guys who took Sonny to Houston were in the audience, not on stage (or at least the one played by Paul Artigues was, you can definitely see him rocking out to Joe Krown while Sonny sulks).

  6. May 5, 2010 11:14 pm

    And Paul Sanchez on guitar and singing a little in the Houston bar scene.

    You say this episode was about “Death, Family and Music.” I think it was more about Death, Food and Music. Food is what brings the families together–even the broken family of LaDonna and Antoine (a paper-plate of red beans), and the never-happened family of Antoine and his sons at the restaurant.

    Nice touch award: One of the sons wears the Saints jersey his dad gave him even though it’s obviously too small. What a great kid for such an undeserving father!



  7. Actually... permalink
    May 6, 2010 10:18 am

    The New York scenes were shot in New York, interiors and exteriors both

  8. May 6, 2010 5:07 pm

    Thanks! but it sure didn’t look NY-y to me. But then, I have very poor vision.

    However, in reply to “Even relatively low-rent music industry parties up there are God-awful …” that’s not true, or not necessarily true, judging by personal experience.

    But it surely can be.

    That’s one of the best things about New Orleans — there isn’t the niching of a ‘scene’ that goes on, and goes on so extremely, in New York.

    But there are a lot of different ones, and not all of them are cold and unfriendly by any means.

    Love, C.

  9. May 6, 2010 5:10 pm

    Thanks! So then why was Sonny so personally offended with the stage change? Or is that just who he is?

    There are guys though who aren’t psychopaths (presumably) who don’t get sharing stage time — we’ve all seen them, particularly at benefits, which are so often over-programmed, and these guys who think the only reason anyone is there is to hear them and they should be able to play two full sets back to back, when the gig is 10 minutes or whatever and get bewildered when they’re gently but firmly removed from the stage.

    Love, C.

  10. May 6, 2010 5:11 pm

    Even the spouse noticed that Baptiste had gotten his son a jersey that was too small, and that the son wore it!

    Love, C.

  11. May 6, 2010 5:12 pm

    As for the exteriors, I know those, so I did get them.

    Love, C.

  12. May 6, 2010 10:07 pm

    My personal experiences with music industry parties up there were all kind of wretched, but that says more about the music “industry” than New York, I guess. I liked it better when I went back years later just to eat.

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