THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD.
BUT UNFORSEEN COMPUTER DIFFICULTIES HAVE MOVED IT TO HERE.
SO, LETS ALL PRETEND THIS IS THREE WEEKS AGO….
Yes, rebuilding a city. Not every day you get to do that Herculean task. But the HBO television drama Treme spotlights the efforts of various characters trying to bring life back to New Orleans. And it is no easy feat.
Steering this tale for us is show creator David Simon, a former reporter who wrote the true crime book Homicide which became the basis for the fantastic television series of the same name. Simon reapplied his genius for tackling complex drama, detailed characters, and urban issues onto the critically acclaimed show The Wire. Now he is bringing us Treme, entering its third season tonight.
Focusing on the Treme section of the city of New Orleans some three months after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and how the proud citizens come back and regain their sense of self while reclaiming their city. While the storm may have dealt a nasty horrific blow to this great cultural icon, it is the government ineptitude which mangles it so much more.
It is never implied at all that New Orleans was once a perfect haven for one and all, but it was a place called home for these people. And as they pick up their existence everyone is in different situations and mindsets, with progress, or lack thereof, being a constant theme. When one man fixes up his own plumbing while rebuilding his home, a city official orders him to take it all out. He is not a licensed plumber, eventhrough he knows what he is doing. Another storyline features a woman trying to get repair work done for her mother’s place. But the contractor is unreliable at best, possibly criminal even.
With the many characters involved and their floating through the tapestry, some become quick favourites, bringing about much happiness when they finally gain back some semblance of life. Antione is a struggling musician constantly short of cab fare and filled with hope for a future. LaDonna is his remarried ex-wife surviving her neighbourhood and running a bar. Toni is a lawyer out to find social justice all over and trying to keep her family together. Albert is the cultural heart of his area and is always henpecking his grown son over music. Annie is a street musician with great talent unsure of herself and her place. Others populate the show, but they hold less interest for my sensibilities. During live tweeting of the last finale, it was fascinating how everyone was routing for their favourites, sometimes for ones I cared little for.
The best way Treme ever showcased the before and after of all these wonderful struggling people was the lovely season one ender. During beautiful mournful music at a funeral, we flip into the past and catch glimpses of all their lives just before the end of it all. Heartbreak is the currency here. Pain is the coming storm. Warnings spring from our lips, but no ears listen. So much of Treme can be summed up from these moments.
And that is what makes this city, this neighbourhood, and these people so interesting. They mostly had it, now they are trying to get it back.
P.S. All Treme images are copyright 2012 to HBO.