City Of Characters
New Orleans’s alternative newsweekly Gambit will run a cover story tomorrow dedicated to Treme. Here’s a preview. In a series of short interviews, the article focuses on the real people who were the basis for the Treme characters, including Kermit Ruffins, Davis Rogan, Susan Spicer and Mary Howell, and their opinions of the show so far.
All encased in a familiar caveat (well, familiar to those who spend time in the comments’ section here, at least) from Lolis Eric Elie, who was also interviewed:
“You have to be careful about the use of the word ‘based.’ The show really is contemporary historical fiction. These people become starting points for the construction of our characters.”
This is most apparent in the case of Creighton Bernette. On the one hand, he is our passionate polymath Ashley Morris manifest and, on the other, Bernette is a composite of many stories waiting to be told. In the interview with Ashley’s wife Hana, we learn that Ashley’s inimitable FYYFF rage had to be transferred on-screen whole but Creighton himself was based only “partially on Ashley and partially on a film archivist who lost all of his footage in Katrina.”
A couple of Back Of Town bloggers have real-life counterparts as well, who feature in the Gambit article. It turns out raynola is based on one Ray Shea whose superpowers include recognizing an Imma Cut A Bitch look from a mile away, while wetbankguy is none other than Mark Folse, local poet, writer and cigar aficionado (I personally believe the character also incorporates snippets of Charles Bukowski and Edward Abbey to great effect).
Looking forward to your reactions and the penultimate episode of Season 1 tomorrow night.