HBO just aired the second episode of Treme, the mini-series set in New Orleans three months after Katrina.
I moved just before the storm to Houston but I came back to visit at the same time this is supposed to take place. From what I can tell and from talking to my friends who lived through it, its pretty realistic.
I’ve seen the first two episodes and throughout I was so into it, but I realized I was enjoyed it so much because they put things into the episodes that a New Orleanian would recognize immediately but that others would probably be confused.
So don’t worry folks- I’m here for you. Episodes can be viewed here (illegally muahaha): Sidereel
1. What is a Second Line: The episode opens up with a second line. If you’ve ever heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” well in Nola it also takes a whole neighborhood to bury a loved one. Basically, a second line is most common at funerals. After the body is buried the family members, neighbors, friends, whoever, have a parade in which they follow a brass band as they play really awesome music. I have been in a second line before but at a wedding (note the bride and groom with the traditional parasols, the trumpet, and meee in the background!)
They are really an excuse to celebrate the person (or couple) and get drunk.
Here is a video:
2. Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs: the older man who comes back to New Orleans and lives in his bar, keeps talking about being a chief. Basically there are tribes of Mardi Gras Indians, made up of African-American male musicians. They march in parades and often also play at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They also wear kick-ass costumes:
3. Old New Orleans Spiced Rum: In the beginning of the first episode there is a close up of Old New Orleans. We highly suggest purchasing this if you can b/c it rocks. For those who prefer whiskey, we suggest Old Granddad 100 (at your nearest ABC).
4. Abita Beer: ‘Nuff Said. Order Purple Haze or Abita Amber at Capital Ale, downtown. You’ll thank me later.
5. Open Container Policy: You might be confused when watching the show why people are walking around with alcohol in front of the police. Well I was confused when I came up here why I couldn’t walk to parties with my beer. Its legal. We even have Drive-thru Daiquiris *sigh*
6. Musicians: Treme definitely throws around a bunch of names (and mostly not the entire name) and apparently expects you to go with it. Since a large part of the show is about music here are the people you need to know:
–Trombone Shorty -he’s actually like 24 and practically a prodigy. Also he’s hot. And in the show.
–Wynton Marsalis -Legend, trumpet
–Elvis Costello -he’s British but he’s in the second episode
–Coco Robicheaux -he’s the one who sacrifices a chicken in the radio show in the name of Voodoo and Congo Square. Coco is who I imagine Willie Nelson to be if he dropped acid for years instead of smoked pot.
–Kermit Ruffins -Trumpet and apparently awesome BBQ-er
7. Pronunciations: Its not New “Or-LEENS” say it like New Or-LUNS. Also don’t Street View Google-map anything. The pictures look like they were taken a day after Katrina.
8. Zapps -The best chips ever? Don’t think you can get them outside of the state though. Guess you guys will just have to come and see for yourself (you can stay with me- Mardi Gras is during your spring break next year!!) Best flavors: “Cajun Crawtator” and “Sour Cream and Creole Onion” and during Mardi Gras “Voodoo Gumbo” :
9. The intro : It has a picture from my Thesis presentation for the Symposium on Friday! (the one of the naked prostitute, I hope thats ok Dr. McClurken, haha):
-the picture is around 1:12
10. Disdain for Bourbon Street : Batiste, one of the musicians in the episode, is really not excited about playing a gig on Bourbon. There is a reason why the locals don’t go to Bourbon (except to get Pat O’s) Its over priced and tourists think its always Mardi Gras. Well its not. Don’t be lame and spend your entire time there. Get a Hand Grenade and go Uptown or St. Charles Ave. (Again, just come to me)
So thats what you need to know. GO WATCH THE SHOW! Have fun b/c our projects are done!!