Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All That Jazz

Last Sunday, HBO aired the final episode of Treme, the story of New Orleans in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina.

I try to limit which TV series I get hooked on. Never saw Game of Thrones. Or got caught up into the Breaking Bad phenomena.

But if writer/director David Simon is involved I'm all in.

My love affair with New Orleans began in 1999.

 We were filming HOME MOVIE, a documentary about eccentric people living in eccentric homes. After an exhaustive research process we located Wild Bill Treacle, a bayou boy who lived on a hand-built houseboat in Cajun country just south of the city.

During the day, often 100 degrees with 110% humidity, we'd film Bill in his swampy surroundings. At night, we'd go back to hotel in the French Quarter and sample the city. We ate like kings. On someone else's dime, no less. We discovered that Bourbon Street was for tourist suckers. And our production crew took us to some of the finer, less known destinations.

Not coincidentally, this was a running gag of Treme.

Years later, I returned to New Orleans to shoot a commercial for Jaguar. Somehow, wink, wink, we managed to get all our filming done early. Giving us ample time to go on a Mint Julepathon.

A $12 artisanally-poured Louisiana mint julep is a thing of beauty. But it goes down even smoother when it can all be expensed back to the Jaguar Motor Company.

Excessive drinking and shady finances were also explored on Treme.

And of course New Orleans is all about incomparable music and the food. And that's what made Treme such an outstanding show. Because it wasn't like watching an episode of TV. It was more like sitting down to a plate full of crawfish, a bucket of ice cold beers and the Pete Fountain band playing onstage.

When it was done, you felt full.

But now that it's over, I'm feeling a little empty.

If you missed Treme the first time, make sure you give it a go when HBO decides to rerun it. Here's one of my favorites scenes.

Consider this a delicious, melancholy appetizer…

No comments: