Last week, HBO’s Treme once again killed off a beloved character. I’d been enjoying the episode, continuously intrigued by Councilman Oliver Thomas’ portrayal of himself and the choices he made that led to his downfall and incarceration. We got to see Corey Henry play with Kermit Ruffins as well as a scene at the romantic Columns Hotel on St. Charles. Though they talked about the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s parade and the throwing of cabbage and other food items, there was no footage from the parades. If you feel you missed out, check out my video from this year’s parade. But, the whole episode was leading to the shock of the senseless murder of a valued musician and I’ll admit it left me with some rare trouble sleeping.
This week’s episode gave us an opportunity to process that loss. Seeing the makeshift memorial brought back the shock of finding the memorial to Albert Joseph Jackson, the Moses of Magazine Street, almost a year ago. Albert’s end was natural and peaceful, but loss is loss. I bring it up because it was the first time I got to grieve with my community over the loss of someone who we’d all come to value. Like the street musician in Treme, Albert brought joy to all who crossed his path. I was glad the show gave us time to grieve and the opportunity to process our own personal losses by proxy. And Jon Cleary is remarkable. His soulful tribute of Frenchmen Street Blues was masterful.
I was thrilled to see my NOLA friends J.D. Evermore (as Detective Silby) and Ned Yousef (as Gooch, the cook). I don’t know why it’s more fun to see these local actors on TV than my longtime celebrity friends from L.A. Maybe because it’s unexpected. But I suspect it’s because it adds to the authenticity of the show for me. I see Ned and J.D. in New Orleans, then I see them on a show trying to recreate post-Katrina New Orleans. These actors are just as much a part of the city as the sets where they film. Somehow, it makes the whole show more “real” for me.
In New Orleans, even the laundromats might have live music and pool tables (Checkpoint Charlies) so I was glad they shot a scene at Mid-City Rock n Bowl, where you can bowl and dance to a band. And it was wonderful to get a peek inside Dooky Chase, as I’ve yet to dine there. There was even a cameo by James Beard Award-winning Chef Donald Link. Lucky me – I have reservations to eat one of his fabulous meals at Herbsaint later today, once again blurring the razor thin line between reality and fiction created by Treme.