I Love Treme but…

I’ve just finished watching the third episode of the series, Treme.  I don’t have HBO but, thanks to my brother, The Oracle, I receive a link to watch it…and I look for my link faithfully every Monday.

As much as I love the series, it is proving itself to be a little difficult for me to watch at times.  I’m sure a lot of New Orleanians feel the same way.   A lot of the scenes being played out in front of us, I had only just begun to put away…like walking into my flood damaged home for the very first time.  That was a hard scene to watch for a lot of people I know.

I’m grateful to David Simon and David Mills because, they are telling our story…the one CNN didn’t bring to you.

How those of us who decided to stay or come back right after the storm, survived those days.

They were not easy days but, it was our choice and one that I would do again.

I love my city… I’m IN love with her…faults in all.

So, I’m in this for the long haul even if I have to carry a shrink with me every step of the way.

The last episode brought me to tears.  When Big Chief went to the lower 9 and found his friend under the boat.  It just hit too close to my heart.

When we first arrived home in Oct ’05, the word was already out among the few of us who had returned…brace yourself before you go into the lower 9.  It was a warning done out of love between natives…those of us who REALLY knew the lower 9.

Like Treme, that area of the city is a deep part of black culture and we all knew to expect the worst because of what we had seen on tv.

TV didn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg about what had happened there.

I had gone all through this city, witnessed miles of devastation from Mississippi all the way in to it.  Had walked the halls of my own destroyed home and while my heart was aching beyond belief…had not shed a tear.

The day I rode into the lower nine…I cried.

I have yet to find the word for what I saw so, I don’t even try to anymore because what happened to that area is beyond words.  I’ll just say that,

Treme is giving folks all over the world a small glimpse of a very large picture and for that…we are grateful.

Our culture is ringing true…for the very first time…on this series.

What I really love is that, it takes people deep into the culture.   Beyond  the Mardi Gras madness in the French Quarters, beyond the local cuisine and the wonderful music.

Treme takes you to the streets…where the second lines and the Mardi Gras Indians roam.

Big Chief Lambreaux, played brilliantly by Clarke Peters is the heart beat of the series to me.  It’s the heartbeat because, the Mardi Gras Indians are at  the very core of New Orleans culture.  When you are at the level of even knowing about our beloved Indians, one of two things are going on.  You are a native (or transplant), or… you have a love for this city so deep that, it has taken you off of the tourist road…beyond the food, the parades, the French Quarters and stuff and has put you in the trenches.

Where the Indians reside.

Some cities have a certain “je ne sais quoi”…that IT factor that makes it stand out just a little bit more than other cities.  New York, Chicago, Philly and some others that I didn’t name have IT.

We have IT.

Our culture is rich and it’s deep and it’s unique…we don’t apologize for it.

We won’t apologize for it.

And we won’t change it.

Because, there are a lot of folks like me…who are in love with her…faults and all.

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10 thoughts on “I Love Treme but…

    • Cliff, every time I watch the series, I’m on edge because I never know what visual of those days are going to come at me. It feels like I’m waiting for the ball to drop on my head sometimes.
      I agree, it is going to be really personal.

  1. I don’t know if you read Dave Walker’s “Treme Explained” this week but he had a good bit about the Katrina Tours:

    “I’ve never done one [tour] – and I’ve done dozens, always including the neighborhood where the tour bus interrupts the Mardi Gras Indians memorial gathering depicted in the concluding moments of episode three – without the drive evoking awe in passengers. The incredible devastation has to be seen to be believed, understood, processed.

    Yes, nearly five years after the storm.

    The devastation has to be seen to be effectively communicated to people who haven’t seen it.

    It must be seen.”

  2. I have to tell you, every week I tell your brother “LaDonna reminds me EXACTLY of your sister.” Every week it feels like we spend that hour sitting right beside you.

    For me, the show brings back everything I adore and respect about New Orleans and lets me forget what I wanted to leave behind. It is incredibly heartbreaking for me.

    Love you!!

  3. LOL!!! I LOVE HER!!! She’s a strong, business woman who loves her family and takes no bull from the contractors…hey…that DOES sound like me 🙂

  4. I went to the Lower 9th about three or four times in the months following the storm on my own photo shoots. I am still struck by the sights which confronted me, of an entire neighbourhood that had existed for generations simply wiped away. Blocks and blocks of weed overgrown vacant lots upon which the shotguns once sat, with maybe a few blocks and steps left to tell the tale, only to go a few blocks down to find the houses where the floodtide had swept them into one another. A sign on an abandoned gas station on N. Robertson with it’s price still showing $2.54 for unleaded. Time had stopped in that place –the past swept into oblivion and the future unknowable and fluid because its anchor to the past was gone.

    Words aren’t adequate to describe it. Pictures don’t convey the full sense of the tragedy. It’s something you can only truly comprehend by having been there, on the ground, and surrounded by the silence of desolation.

    • @Orleanian In Exile…well said. Returning home, it was the silence that got to me more than anything else.

  5. I have yet to find the word for what I saw so, I don’t even try to anymore because what happened to that area is beyond words. I’ll just say that Treme is giving folks all over the world a small glimpse of a very large picture and for that…we are grateful. Our culture is ringing true…for the very first time…on this series.

    Hi, this is Maitri from over at Back of Town. Ray, my co-blogger, sent us over here to your blog and I can’t stop reading. Thanks for writing out all of your emotions and sharing them with us.

    Yeah, you’re right, many of us are grateful to Simon & Co. for showing the world what we have been trying so hard to get across since the storm, which is why I started Back of Town, to honor and revel in that. And I hope he sets up a character and some major scenes in the Lower 9 in upcoming seasons because there’s a whole lot of story there.

    Anyway, before I start to whimper, nice to have met you and see you around the blogs!

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