Treme

March 17th, 2010  7 Comments

Wyatt Mason’s NYT Magazine article about the filming of Treme has this great bit where David Simon explains the difficulty of describing New Orleans to someone who hasn’t been here:


[Treme Co-Creator] Eric Overmeyer owned a second home in New Orleans, as he does to this day, and very soon he and Simon, who had been taking regular trips to New Orleans for some time, found they were talking more about their record collections and experiences in New Orleans than about “Homicide.” It wasn’t long before they were thinking out loud about how great it would be to shoot a show down there. The problem was that they didn’t know what show. “We couldn’t figure out how to pitch it,” Simon told me last fall. “Both of us imagined the pitch meeting, and we imagined trying to explain New Orleans and being unable to. If I could explain it to you sitting here now, I wouldn’t have to do the show. That’s the problem: you literally have to drag whatever executive you’ve got to New Orleans, throw him into a second line”— local parades led by brass bands are followed by a “second line” of dancers who join in spontaneously —“get him drunk, take him here, take him there. It would have to be a lost week: you’re not in America anymore — you’re in New Orleans! We couldn’t imagine being able to do that. In fact, we imagined being escorted off the lot. We laughed about it. We said, ‘Pipe dream.’ ”



[Years later] we flew out to L.A., and [HBO’s] Carolyn Strauss bought the idea of us writing something, ’cause there’s not that much money in the script, not a huge investment. And I think on some level she was being polite. You know, ‘ “The Wire” is good, “The Corner” has been good; I can’t say no to you.’ But I don’t think she got it. I think if you talk to her, she’d be like, ‘They didn’t do a good job explaining it.’ I remember this exchange, which is us trying to explain the Mardi Gras Indians, and somewhere in the middle of the pitch she goes, ‘When you say “Indians,” do you mean woo-woo-woo?’ And we’re like, ‘Yes . . . and no,’ ” Simon laughed. “ ‘Not Native American but, yeah, woo-woo-woo-woo.’ ”

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  •   kdavidcook     0   Posted 1680 days ago 

    What's the situation in Treme now? Any changes since the recent attention given to it by the show?

  •   dsbnola     +1   Posted 1674 days ago 

    Not sure, I live in Central City where they're doing a lot of filming and everyone seems pretty happy about it. Nola.com had a story about another neighborhood that was more conflicted:

    http://www.nola.com/treme-hbo/index.ssf/2010/03/treme_excitement_a_bit_too_muc.html

  •   kdavidcook     0   Posted 1674 days ago 

    Well the upside is obvious, and the downside as far as inconveniences, is highly subjective. But there should be some guidelines and extra revenue going directly to the neighborhood associations in which the filming has direct impact, in my opinion. In NYC, Bloomberg has opened up a big welcome to Film and TV production, perhaps NOLA could look toward NYC for a model on how to draw in the filming while tapping into the potential to generate some funding for the locations that are lovingly taken care of by residents. When they come and go so easily, it can leave a bad after-taste.
    The kind of change that I wonder about is the one that I call in NY the "Friends Effect," which is the onslaught of young, not-so-interesting, affluent people flocking to the scenes after the trucks have gone in an attempt to recreate what the Hollywood dream factory has created before their eyes on the tube: which ain't necessarily so, if you know what I mean. As I understand from the NY Times article, Treme has a much higher murder rate than the other historic neighborhoods.
    I am reminded of my friend, Keith Moore, aka Deacon Johnson's lyrics:
    PSYCHO! PSYCHO!
    PSYCHO, PSYCHO ALL DAY –
    MY PLAYBOY AND YOUR PLAYBOY –
    SITTING ON THE BAYOU
    YOUR PLAYBOY SHOT MY PLAYBOY
    NOW IM’A SET YO HOUSE ON FIRE
    TALKING BOUT PSYCHO! PSYCHO!
    PSYCHO, PSYCHO ALL DAY
    STAGGERED OUT OF THA BAR
    AND WALKED WAY TOO FAR
    GOT ROBBED OVER IN TREME’
    ETC, ETC…

  •   humidhaney     0   Posted 1674 days ago 

    If tons of tourists want to walk around some of our neighborhoods and take pictures I say come on down. Maybe they will buy something and get a glimpse of how weird and awesome this city really is.

  •   kdavidcook     0   Posted 1674 days ago 

    Hey humidhaney, I was wondering if you know if there are drumming circles and such that meet at Congo Square? Is there a continuous tradition of jamming for pure pleasure?

  •   humidhaney     0   Posted 1673 days ago 

    Is there a continuous tradition of jamming for pure pleasure?

    Yes.

    Does it happen at COngo Sq on a regular basis?

    No.

  •   kdavidcook     0   Posted 1673 days ago 

    In Prospect Park in Brooklyn there is a permanent Drummer's Circle, installed by the Parks Department with seating on stumps for the drummers, along the Eastern Edge of the park near Prospect Lefferts Garden. On any Sunday, there is a jam session with drummers and dancers from all over the world -- man, what sights and sounds!
    Not to take the spotlight from CS, but wouldn't it be nice if the tradition were revived there?
    By the way...there is an excellent Novel by Michael Ondaatje titled "Coming Through Slaughter" about the life of Buddy Bolden that takes place in Treme -- an absolute must read.