While I may be one of Louisville's biggest cheerleaders (self-proclaimed, of course... and truly I'm quite little), I'm still a New Orleanian at the end of the day.
Yesterday, David Simon's "Treme" premiered on HBO, and I have to say-- bless their hearts-- they're getting it right.
The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, even those posted by the picky locals who are quick to the defense after so many terrible depictions of the Crescent City in films and on TV. (Although tremendously flawed, the quickly canceled "K-Ville" on FOX a few years back was pretty charming, though.)
If you have HBO and you aren't watching "Treme," start. (And if you don't have HBO, I know all you darling inter-nerds know how to find these things less-than-legally online. Not that I'm advocating that. Not that I'm not.) Start because it's good tv. Start because you need to know more about Katrina and Post-Katrina New Orleans. Start because we need to start talking about New Orleans again. It's a goshdamned shame we ever stopped.
Last week, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference met in New Orleans. And you know what Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and a whole slew of GOP superstars had to say about Katrina? Nothing. Not a peep. Zippo. Nil. Zilch.
I started blogging during my Katrina exile. It's been years since I last looked at that blog. It's called Displaced and is much more personal than this one. But if you're really interested in what it was like to be evacuated during the storm, go back to the earliest entries. (You'll probably learn some juicy tidbits about Mama there, too.)
Honestly, being a Katrina exile is more deeply rooted in my soul than being a cancer survivor. I don't know what that says about me. I don't know what that says about trauma. Roommate and I had it good. Our home was in the 20% of the city that didn't flood. I was still able to keep my job part time. We were in the first wave of evacuees to return home. We were lucky enough not to lose any friends or close acquaintances.
That being said, my ex-husband-- a New Orleans native-- died three years after the storm. A death I most certainly blame on Katrina. A death everyone who knows him blames on Katrina. But I don't want to get into that.
So maybe "Treme" will start the discussion again. The writers don't hide their anger at the government and the lack of aid and understanding the city received. Despite the fact that the opening episode took place just three months after the storm in a torn and broken city, it still made New Orleans look fun and amiable enough to stir some tourism. So maybe "Treme" will send folks down to New Orleans to see for themselves. Either way, it's a good thing.
The most stirring image, for me, in last night's "Treme" was of the interior of a flooded-out house and of a living-room ceiling fan whose blades had wilted into a tulip. The picture above was taken on October 5, 2005, the day we returned to New Orleans. My apartment did not flood. I was back in six or so weeks. But I came home to this sad little candle, a candle I still have and have somehow been able to preserve in just this state. It's become a badge, of sorts, of my exile.
Anyway. "Treme." Watch it. If not for political/social reasons, then because it's good watching. And because the music rocks. As the Steve Zahn (who lives in Lexington, btw) character says, "America needs more Kermit Ruffins."