HOLLYWOOD —The HBO series “Treme” is starting to grow on me. I was never a fan of the city of New Orleans and after the flooding of the emerald city as a result of Hurricane Katrina, I had no clue why anyone would want to live there. Still not a city I’d call home, I can however start to empathize with the residents who are returning to their homes, and the bitterness they felt on Sunday night, when people spoke of how they were not allowed to walk through certain neighborhoods for fear of their being looters when many were trying to get to higher and safer ground. The neighborhood Treme had never been on my radar. As a historian of U.S. and World affairs, I had no idea the region of the city called Treme was founded when three freed black slave women purchased three parcels of land. They were the first African Americans in the U.S. to purchase any parcel of land, and their impact on the society was immense.
Last Sunday they dealt with the fact that Jazz music was born in that region. That the slaves honored the Native Americans that would assist them during the time they were fleeing for freedom and that the Mardi Gras was part of that homage paid to Indian chiefs and their native American culture. The characters may not be people that I’d welcome into my living room personally, but they are starting to become more fascinating by each episode. Still John Goodman and Wendell Pierce are the standout actors in this series and the music certainly is well worth listening to.
Why this series works is that it doesn’t delve into the nature of politics. They blame no one and yet everyone, who was responsible for keeping the city safe and the levees working. On Sunday night, I’m looking forward to seeing more of the show that has taught me a lot more than I expected to learn in such a short time.
“Treme” was created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer; executive producers, David Simon, Nina K. Noble, Eric Overmyer, Carolyn Strauss; co-executive producer, David Mills; producer, Anthony Hemingway; directors, Agnieszka Holland, Jim McKay, Ernest Dickerson, Anthony Hemingway, Christine Moore, Brad Anderson, Simon Cellan Jones and Dan Attias; writers, David Simon, Eric Overmyer, David Mills, George Pelecanos, Lolis Eric Elie, Tom Piazza and Davis Rogan.
Photograph of Wendell Pierce by Paul Schiraldi