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Open Thread: A Unique Opportunity

April 24, 2011

What a dick.

  1. April 24, 2011 10:27 pm

    Two doses (at least) of Mid-City love in this one: Bracato’s and Liuzza’s.

    But mainly I felt a real depth of emotion here. All the development from Season One yields a payoff.

  2. April 24, 2011 10:57 pm

    I missed these people.

    Which is crazy, because: TV SHOW.

    But I missed them. I missed Janette, and GOD, haven’t we all had a boss like that? I missed Annie and Davis (I really like them together because he’s not jealous and grasping and crazy and greasy and makes her smile) and I even missed people I didn’t like all that much, like Delmond, who was all “nobody kicks my city but me.”


  3. Dexter Johnson permalink
    April 24, 2011 10:59 pm

    Yeah , but there was a lot of money to be made in New Orleans. But really, yes, a real creep.

  4. Dexter Johnson permalink
    April 24, 2011 11:01 pm

    John Boutte just kicked ass tonight on the show…he’s G-R-E-A-T !!

  5. jeffrey permalink
    April 24, 2011 11:41 pm

    BEAT L.A.!!!

    Shit. Sorry, wrong thread. Carry on.

  6. April 25, 2011 12:01 am

    Questions: what was the song Antoine played in the cemetery, and who was standing next to the young trumpet player in Jackson Square?

  7. Anita permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:15 am

    OMG, we even got feral chickens! I love it.

    Athenae, I know what you mean; I thought the exact same thing. Missed them so much.

    And Morse’s conversation with the New York reporter signals that at least we won’t be getting the horror story about Annie/Sonny we were dreading at the beginning of last season. Still, as we already know someone is going to get killed off this season, I’m not trusting that Annie is safe by any means.

    I loved the vocals in this episode with Annie and Antoine both branching out. John Boutte is even better this year than last. I loved that we saw the Baby Boyz. The young trumpet player is an excellent addition.

    Please tell me Davis is not going to take his aunt to watch Big Freedia.

    I’ve only watched it twice and it’ll take a little time for me absorb it enough to know what even happened. This episode is so layered and packed with information and story that there is no way I have gotten it all yet. Simon and company has laid out a fabulous array to begin the season.

  8. Virgotex permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:20 am

    Song was I thought i heard Buddy Bolden say. I don’t know who the old man was

  9. racymind permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:20 am

    The young Latino with the “good hair” who invokes Governor Perry and Speaker Craddick? He gives me a modern sociopath vibe. He leases a Jaguar (or whatever) and hasn’t turned a dollar yet? He’s evil. He’s The Train.

  10. Kevin permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:34 am

    Nice to have Treme back, but I felt like half this episode was a not-very-skillful “Here’s what’s happened to these characters since you saw them last” and the other half was “Here are the bowling pins we’re setting up for the rest of the season.”

    A lot of the dialogue was just too on-the-nose and expository: Davis in the DJ booth reprised, the New York diss, the banker saying this was the chance to remake New Orleans, and the awful “gumbo ya-ya” speech at Tipitina’s. (And, yes, I know a lot of this happened and is faithful to real life – maybe we’re just too close to it down here, or just overly familiar with it.)

    I did love the scene between Antoine and Desiree on the steps of the house … it carried a lot of interesting information and the two of them really exemplified the sense of itchy irritation the whole city felt at that time. Hoping for more of that.

  11. Anita permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:51 am

    Sorry, Lt. Colson is the police captain; Morse is the actor. Speaking of actors, Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc is wonderful as Desiree.

  12. April 25, 2011 6:44 am

    The young person on the trumpet really got to me. I remember when I first heard a kid practicing on his/her instrument…I just ran outside and stood there listening. It gave me hope.
    John Boutte really showed out and yes, the young Latino is a dick.

  13. April 25, 2011 7:47 am

    You read my mind, bayoucreole.

    And yes, Kevin, there was a lot of exposition here but they have to reposition the characters, the fill in the six month gap between Episode 10 and 11. Still, while a focus on the return of crime was foreshadowed it wasn’t given any real narrative momentum in the same way cousin bad guy was launched down a path we’re all going to love to hate. (I’ve already forgotten the character’s name and it’s too soon to look it up)

  14. April 25, 2011 7:49 am

    Read my mind, of course. What did I read today about Peak Coffee? I’m off to buy a couple of cases of Community. Until then, VT: can we enable comment editing?

  15. wigatrisk permalink
    April 25, 2011 8:13 am

    I had a similar feeling after the halfway point or so. The prologue was so beautifully filmed it really brought back the feel and immediacy of the first season. We’ll see how it develops but the John Seda character took me out of the immersion in the same way the pretty dreadful appearance of “Prez” in the first season did. Half tourist bureau booster and half overly obvious profiteer – maybe the point is that these guys are never subtle, but isn’t there a more, uhm, subtle way of showing that?

  16. April 25, 2011 8:48 am

    Yes, feral chickens got a cameo, Baby Boyz and Juvy!

  17. April 25, 2011 8:49 am

    Free WordPress, dude. It’s all up to your coffee now.

  18. April 25, 2011 9:34 am

    Where I got taken out of it slightly was in Toni’s orientation speech to her new assistant. My brain said “exposition,” which is bad news when you’re watching. Delmond’s rant worked for me because it came well earned from character development from last season. Hidalgo’s character=it’ll be interesting to see where he fits in on the Davis-Sonny irritation spectrum. And those clever sons-of-guns got me feeling sympathetic to Sonny with his passing the torch to Davis and his knucklehead roommates.

    “Doesn’t it smell like a spring meadow?”

  19. April 25, 2011 9:55 am

    I was impressed not only by Sonny’s demeanor, but by the fact that he made it from the street onto the stage at the Cat. I went into that scene expecting Davis and Sonny to come to words if not blows. Now that Davis is loveable and Sonny is not quite such an asshole, we’ll have to get our hate fix on Hidalgo but I think that’s going to be easy.

  20. April 25, 2011 11:53 am

    I watched The Borgias on Showtime right after watching Treme and my head exploded.

    I missed these folks too and also don’t think Annie’s safe just because they brought up Zack and Addie and Sonny’s acting all nice and playing with the group. I also am worried about our young trumpeter out walking the streets playing his trumpet and don’t think he’s safe either, but that’s just the whole Mom thing kicking in, my conditioned response.

  21. April 25, 2011 12:12 pm

    We’re wondering who the guy standing next to the kid at the Square is too. We’re wondering if he’s going to be a new character or if he just happened by.

  22. April 25, 2011 12:22 pm

    Loved it. Sat through it again at the bar and will watch it yet again here this week. The kid trying to play Saints was a heartbreaker. Desiree saying “We might have to get married” was too much fun. I’m glad, by the way, that she explained the lack of paperwork on the house that’s been “in my family forever.” People outside here don’t get that. Janette’s bar scene was hard to watch. I’m pretty sure LaDonna’ marriage is gonna go out the window this season, or at least be on a tough road for a while, and that period was so difficult a lot of marriages hit the skids. He just doesn’t quite get that she’s not gonna be happy as a little housewife in Baton Rouge. Ever.

    As for Delmond, I was hollering fuck you to that guy just before he did. I’d had conversations much like that a lot that year.

    I was surprised initially that Albert wasn’t at the Wild Man’s grave but at his wife’s. And no one, no one here is pissed at Poke? “Where’s my sign?” indeed!

  23. April 25, 2011 12:27 pm

    Oh yeah, and I’m still steaming over Albert’s State Farm check. I knew so many people who were in exactly that situation.

  24. April 25, 2011 12:39 pm

    Yeah, we fumed at “Where’s my fucking sign at?” and especially at the piddly State Farm check. As D advised the screen: “Don’t cash that check, man. Just don’t cash it.”

    Also breathed a huge sigh of relief when Desiree found at least one unflooded set of family pictures. Phew. And big groans on the mention of Road Home.

    My death pool money is on anyone except Davis right now.

  25. Holleybe permalink
    April 25, 2011 12:48 pm

    Recorded as “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” by Jellyroll “but not really Morton’s composition , it’s a folk tune that was appearing in sheet music as early as 1904 (St. Louis Tickle). This is supposedly the same “funky butt” tune that the Bolden Band used as their theme song. Morton slowed it down to the point where it’s almost unrecognizable.”

  26. Exiled in New Jersey permalink
    April 25, 2011 1:05 pm

    Are Toni and Sofia living in a different place? The house does not look the same.

  27. April 25, 2011 1:32 pm

    Toni mentioned “old house, new house” to her assistant so I think maybe she sold the other house. I will say that the looming empty chair at the head of the table while they were eating was a nice detail showing the enormity of their loss. It’s very definitely still Creigh’s chair.

  28. brueso permalink
    April 25, 2011 4:47 pm

    It’s totally not fair, but I instantly flinch whenever I see Jon Seda. He showed up on Homicide: Life on the Streets in the 6th(?) season of the show when it was perceived that NBC was trying to up the sexiness factor so HLOTS might get some more viewers, and in general, the quality of the show started to go a little south. Not because of Seda’s acting- but as it happened around the same time, I associate him with it. (You guys cut Ned Beatty and Jon Polito loose so you can go for some of those Adult Romances like in NYPD Blue?) What I do count on the Treme team to do eventually is show this character who seems primarily to be an opportunist is not a totally ‘bad’ character. They avoid those two-dimensional depictions- that’s part of the reason we all stick around.

  29. April 25, 2011 5:08 pm

    Indeed, agreed. I mean the last part. I was talking about this character with a friend at work and we we both kind of liked him. I see how we’re being set up to hate him, but I’m not falling for it.

  30. brueso permalink
    April 25, 2011 6:45 pm

    Knew that David Morse was going to a ‘regular’ this season and am glad after his cameo from last time. Have always loved his work.

  31. brueso permalink
    April 25, 2011 6:52 pm

    yep- they definitely dodged the Crap TV bullet there (again) by making the Sonny/Davis chat low key (and drama free) on both ends. You know Sonny’s known for awhile he screwed up, but ex’s do actually manage to navigate even in a small scene like that.

  32. doctorj2u permalink
    April 25, 2011 7:28 pm

    Agree 100%, bayoucreole. That little boy looks so familiar. Was he the little boy with the trumpet in Spike Lee’s film? I guess he is too young for that because Katrina was almost 6 years ago now. Anyway, I see the futire of the culture in his struggling notes. Hope hidden amongst the mayhem.

  33. April 25, 2011 10:11 pm

    “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” is also the song that Antoine put on the iPod for Danny when he visited him in the hospital before he died, so clearly the song has some meaning between the two of them.

  34. April 25, 2011 10:12 pm

    If Simon kills Annie, I will personally kick his ass.

  35. April 25, 2011 10:16 pm

    I can maybe agree with some of that, but I thought that conversation between Delmond and the New York cats was spot-on. I’ve had that same conversation so many times, you can’t explain what it’s like, and they don’t want to listen, they want to tell YOU what THEIR theory is. I had the same thing happen over and over, again, when the BP spill was still big in the news. It’s infuriating. Everybody wants an elevator pitch explanation of how New Orleans is doing and why it’s important, and when you can’t give it to them in 50 words or less, they substitute whatever 50 words sounds good to them regardless of whether they’re true.

  36. April 25, 2011 10:18 pm

    I got the sense that Sonny is trying to get his shit together a little bit. He was pissed off that Stinky Paul and his buddy are dealing out of his living room, and this time around he knew all the words to Basin Street Blues. Still got that anger thing, but some things are harder to give up than others.

  37. April 25, 2011 10:22 pm

    And taken at face value, nothing the banker guy said was offensive. “Fix the schools, fix the infrastructure, fix the economy, fix the crime problem.” Honestly, who wasn’t saying that back then? Who doesn’t want that? Of course everybody knows that some people meant they wanted to actually fix those things, and other people meant they wanted to not let the black people and poor people move back, but New Orleans has always been all about the code words.

  38. April 26, 2011 6:20 am

    I’ll get him first, Ray. I’m closer.

  39. April 26, 2011 6:27 am

    I’ll have to queue up the dialogue again, but I thought he made at least one remark that struck me as channeling Jimmy Reiss but maybe it’s because I know the backstory too well.

  40. April 26, 2011 7:07 am

    Ray, that is always the thing about the people who come here wanting to help: there’s sooo much that has to be negotiated in the overall cultcha down here. It is so easy to step on an emotional or political land mine someplace in this town. The scenarios in which people can be thought of as carpetbagging (in a 21st century sense: check the bark, bugs, leaves, and lizards blog for the historical background) are seemingly endless. Even if there is a local to hold your hand here, that handholder will be under scrutiny and suspicion as well. Pointing fingers and saying, “you’re here to help, and you’re not,” well, the black-and-white of that falls away almost instantly here. I’m sure it’s like that in most other places in this country, too, but it is certainly amplified here…and it was blasting away at everybody for at least three years after the levees broke. It’ll be something else to see what Treme does with it.

  41. April 26, 2011 8:15 am

    The gumbo ya-ya line and the voodoo in the cemetery seemed a bit forced, but we have all had that conversation in New York with similar outcomes. It seemed an important part of Delmond’s character development, to show his inner conflict between the call of New York and success versus the pull of New Orleans, and his motion toward home (which is where I think he’ll land).

    In fact, if he comes home and takes a job teaching music, draw that crosshairs on his forehead.

  42. April 26, 2011 9:43 am

    I think the scene with the banker was a study in contrast. We’re used to seeing the fun of the dark bars, the exultation of the performances on stage and in the street, the uninhibited-ness (good or bad) whether it’s LaDonna going off on someone or Janette the taxi fairy – so when we see two guys dressed in suits in an office with clean lines, and with a different color palette, it feels off and ominous. Even those who don’t have all the back story would get a dun! dun! DUUUN! feeling from the contrast alone in the cinematography, IMHO.

  43. Davis Rogan permalink
    April 26, 2011 10:31 am

    Wendell Pierce did an Off Broadway show about Buddy Bolden, that or an obscure film ..

  44. April 26, 2011 11:15 am

    Among the many other fine things about this opening episode it felt for el V and myself like coming back to New Orleans for a while after being away for a while — the first weekend we cut back-and-forth constantly among our varioius intersecting friends and communities madly, attempting to catch up with everything that’s been going on with them.

    Gads, it was so good to be back!

    Love, C,

  45. April 26, 2011 1:00 pm

    Dr J, according to Dave Walker: “The youngster practicing the trumpet is Jaron “Bear” Williams, who is a member of The Roots of Music marching band, and will be featured in Richard Barber’s upcoming documentary about the recovery of school music programs in New Orleans, “The Whole Gritty City.” That’s Williams on the film’s website home page. ”

    I love Roots of Music. I find myself digging for my checkbook, that anachronistic thing that lays on the bottom of my bag for the most part, every time I encounter them. They are just such a remarkable program.

  46. Tim permalink
    April 26, 2011 1:35 pm

    Ha ha, you say you despise this show, yet here you are. I believe I’d place money that you watched on TV, too. You Poser!



  47. April 26, 2011 1:37 pm

    Merely hating the show is one thing, but if you wanna be FAMOUS for hating the show, you have to work to keep the brand out there. Jeffrey’s on it.

  48. Tim permalink
    April 26, 2011 1:44 pm

    Yes, I found the dialogue at several points in the show a bit forced and even contrived. Bad acting or bad writing? I blame the writing. However, I do agree that conversation with the f’d up New Yorkers was real and relevent. Not only, as Ray says, because everybody wants an elevator explanation, but also because only family members are allowed to dis the family. Outsiders are not allowed to trash us. Delmond bristles at the callous comments not only because they are half-baked, but because in spite of it all, he’s a patriotic New Orleanian. I predict he will return to NOLA in a big way, and I’m looking forward to the speech he gives to explain it.



  49. April 26, 2011 1:44 pm

    Poser: is that Dutch horn player?

  50. Tim permalink
    April 26, 2011 1:50 pm

    Big Sam (of Big Sam’s Funky Nation) put it out on Twitter that Bear is his little cousin. Says he used to change his diapers! Follow Big Sam on Twitter at @FunkyBigSam.



  51. Tim permalink
    April 26, 2011 2:02 pm

    We’re just going to have to ride it out and see what happens. It is true that a rising tide lifts all boats, so on the face of it “fixing” all that’s bad with the city is a good deal for all who live here. Problem is, we know that some who talk big and spend a lot of other people’s money really don’t care whether the things they build really have value or any lasting value. For some, there’s money to be made and they will take as much as they can get. Ed Blakely is the prime example of it in this instance–talk about your sound and fury signifying nothing. Sadly, it’s not just the outsiders who do this. Anyone can look at Armstrong Park and know that some of our own will gleefully screw us over for a buck. So, yes, at the front end, I’m suspicious of the banker and the cousin from Texas, but you never know.



  52. doctorj2u permalink
    April 26, 2011 6:05 pm

    Thank you Sam and Tim for filling me in on the background. Maybe it was through Roots of Music that I saw his face.

  53. doctorj2u permalink
    April 27, 2011 6:29 pm

    Question. On the Saints board they are saying that 14 months later skips over the opening of the dome and the Saints game against Atlanta. Is that true? If so, is it because the NFL was protecting their “rights” like the Who Dat fiasco? It is important to me because the Saints are the one thing that kept me sane and gave me hope in 2006-2007. To skip over that would not be telling the story of post-K New Orleans.

  54. April 27, 2011 6:36 pm

    Yes, it’s my understanding that was indeed skipped. A seminal moment to be sure. Perhaps the producers simply aren’t aiming to be exhaustive, but one does have to wonder about the NFL angle.

  55. April 27, 2011 6:44 pm

    That’s an interesting point.

    My understanding is that the time line is somewhat dictated by practicality, in that it’s prohibitively expensive to do long-term shooting during hurricane season from an insurance perspective, so the time span of a season runs pretty much from November-ish to April-ish.

    But yeah, that first Dome game was huge. That whole season was huge.

    There does seem to be a lack of Saints in general, other than Creighton’s YouTube rants.

  56. David Simon permalink
    April 27, 2011 8:26 pm

    Allow me to engage on this one because it touches on a couple practical production points:

    1) The seasons of Treme, as many as HBO allows, will always traverse real time between about November and April-May, which are the months when it is not cost prohibitive to film in NOLA, vis a vis hurricane insurance.


    2) The NFL is, far and away, the most egregious, self-absorbed and greedheaded entity when it comes to displaying any logo, player, uniform, jersey, game film, highlight. If money isn’t shoved into their pocket at every single opportunity and if the script itself doesn’t extol the NFL and American football as the saving grace of our civilization, then they reserve all rights to the depiction of football as it exists in the lives of regular folk. They include in that regular folk who suffered through Katrina and its aftermath and took real solace in the Saints. They don’t give a fuck about depicting your reality or what the Saints meant to you. They give a fuck about glorifying and gilding their image and getting paid ridiculous sums of money. That’s all they care about. And I say that as a devoted Ravens fan, who pisses purple and has season tickets.

    That said, we reference the return of the Saints and their march to the playoffs that year whenever possible. We just can’t show much of it onscreen.

    David Simon

    P.S. Welcome back, y’all.

  57. David Simon permalink
    April 27, 2011 8:28 pm


    “gilding their image,” that should be.

    a guild is a union and a good thing. the gilded age is what we have returned to in this country and not a good thing at all.

    my bad.

  58. April 27, 2011 11:00 pm

    Back atcha, sir!

    And yeah, the NFL is freakishly, notoriously ready to whip out their cease & desist letters at the teensiest appearance of their logos & merch in a setting not of their own making. I could see those shysters coming out in full force if, say, those bumper stickers I saw on a car uptown dissing Benson for attempting to move the Saints to San Antone ended up in a brief, split-second shot on the series.

  59. April 27, 2011 11:15 pm


    Maitri? What’s our editorial policy for cleaning up typos left by MacArthur “geniuses”?

  60. doctorj2u permalink
    April 28, 2011 6:13 pm

    Thank you David for the reply. I thought that may have been the reasoning. Sad but true. We have dealt with the NFL before when they tried to grab the term “Who Dat” from us. I thought you might get a kick out of this, being that you are a newspaper man. It is a video of support for the Who Dat Nation from the writers of the London Times.

    Thanks again for the clarification. I will be sure to pass the word along to Saints fans. And THANK YOU for all you have done to support the city.

  61. April 28, 2011 7:32 pm

    @David Simon: I completely understand why y’all can’t shoot during actual summer here. I think, however, you should fake it. Hose Steve Zahn down so he looks like he’s dripping sweat. Even Davis has gotta slow during in the NOLA heat…

  62. April 28, 2011 8:44 pm

    Some do say misspelling is a sign of genius. But, the policy can be amended to me taking time out of my day to correct it.

  63. Rico Connolly permalink
    May 2, 2011 2:59 pm

    It’s subtle but if you look close he’s at his wife’s grave first and then later when he hears the kid he’s whitewashing a tomb the name on the tomb of the family is Hurd. His wild man

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