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Down in the Treme

In case you didn’t know,

Treme is an American television drama series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. Tremé is a neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. The series begins three months after Hurricane Katrina where the residents of New Orleans, including musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and ordinary New Orleanians try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane.

That’s according to Wikipedia anyway. I’d describe it as the immensely watchable ‘follow up’ from The Wire that just ended it’s 10 episode run this weekend. (Apparently a second series has been given the nod but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anytime soon, so there’s still plenty of time to catch up.) I wont waste space trying to give it a decent review but I will say that the relatively small number of character’s makes it easy to get more emotionally attached to them. It’s really interesting to get a decent range of viewpoints on life in New Orleans, and personally, it’s opened me up to a completely different world. Obviously, growing up on the South Coast of England means that I’ve not really had the N’awlins experience as such, but I was literally completely oblivious of things like the Second Line and St. Joseph’s Night. Not that I’m suddenly an expert, but the show has brought things like that to my attention and caught my interest.

I’ve wanted to go to New Orleans for a while now.. Probably since watching Interview With The Vampire and reading Jitterbug Perfume (ha!), but I feel like I’ve got a new appreciation for it. I realise that sounds cheesy as fuck 🙂 and the representation in a fictional TV series has to be taken with a pinch of salt but really, Treme makes it look like a great city. Mardi Gras 2011(?)

The main thing that stands out from the series is (by FAR) the music. I’ve never previously considered myself a fan of jazz / blues / swing / anything with trumpets (apart from this and this) but the music in Treme is really great. I’ve been put on to tonnes of new (ooold) stuff via the programme. John Boutte (who does the ‘theme song’), Kermit Ruffins, Professor Longhair, Donald Harrison Jr… the list goes on. http://songsfromtreme.tumblr.com/ is a great blog of all the songs that have appeared in each episode and is well worth spending an hour or so on.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed watching it and if you like decent drama – or David Simon – or The Wire – or find yourself with 10 hours to spare, it’s wholeheartedly recommended. Great stuff. Roll on the second series!

[audio:https://www.mattnortham.com/blog/wp-content/images/2010/06/02-At-The-Foot-Of-Canal-Street.mp3]

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