We spent the last day of French Quarter Fest laying low and “sucking heads.” A friend with a house in the Treme hosted a crawfish boil with over 100 pounds of crawfish as well as some really yummy boudin (a sausage made with rice) and cracklins (fried pork skin). People came by, ate, wandered to the French Quarter Festival to listen to The Radiators, hung out, ate some more, had a water fight, told stories many of them already knew, laughed and generally had a great time. I have truly lucked out finding so many wonderful and welcoming people so quickly here.
People were already thinking about next year’s Mardi Gras costumes. I have no idea where to even begin. Is there some sort of theme? Do you just, “do watcha wanna” like the Rebirth Brass band suggests? So much to learn about how far you can take a good time around here.
Then it was time to settle in around the tarp hanging from the fence and watch HBO’s Treme in the Treme. From the opening shot, the locals had thoughts and opinions. Someone liked that they’d used the mold on the walls as the backdrop for the opening credits. I was happy to see that local resident, John Goodman, and native, Wendell Pierce, were among the talented cast. (what, no Patricia Clarkson?)
At some point, the camera passed right in front of the house we were sitting in and we all went wild. The house Steve Zahn’s character lives in is just around the corner.
John Goodman’s activist with an uncensored mouth was, as you might imagine, a hit. The Big Chief story-line had mixed reactions but we were all stunned into silence, peppered with the occasional “wow,” when he donned his beautiful Mardi Gras Indian suit. There was no debate when local legend, Kermit Ruffins, showed up and played at Vaughn’s. Been meaning to go see him there. He was a real crowd pleaser on the show and on our patio.
In all, the locals felt fairly well represented and like there was accuracy to the food, music, colloquialisms and much of the culture. They were even generous with their assessments of the actor’s accents.
David Mills, one of the top-notch writer/producers of Treme, died last week at Cafe du Monde. I hope he was as happy to be here as I have been. I suspect he was as the show seems to be a testament to the value of this great city and the need to invest in its future. Though they haven’t yet mentioned it, New Orleans has one of the largest, busiest ports in the world. Much of this country’s local oil and natural gas comes from Louisiana and the New Orleans area. This is more than the birthplace of Jazz and the home of a totally unique American culture (and the World Champion New Orleans Saints!), it is a place of great economic value.
If you haven’t already seen HBO’s Treme, check it out. And for behind-the-scenes goodies, go to the show’s site: