What We’ve Learned About David Simon’s Treme


While it made us excited for the series’ premiere on April 11 and reminded us why we love Wynton Marsalis, the teaser trailer for HBO’s Treme didn’t provide much information about Wire creator David Simon’s latest drama. All we really knew for sure: It would be set in post-Katrina New Orleans and it had to do with musicians. The TV gods (otherwise known as the 2010 Winter TCAs) must have heard our prayers, because today Simon shed some new light on what the show will cover.

Find out what specifics we’ve learned after the jump.

– It’s about 10 people living in New Orleans three months after Hurricane Katrina — so the fall of 2005.

John Goodman was recently added to the original pilot. He plays a college professor and husband to a local civil rights attorney played by Melissa Leo .

Wendell Pierce (Bunk from The Wire), a New Orleans native, will play Antoine Batiste, a musician trying to make a living and reconnect with his family.

– Others in the cast include Steve Zahn (Davis Rogan, “a rebellious” radio disc jockey), Kim Dickens (Janette Desautel, a popular chef), Khandi Alexander (Ladonna Batiste-Williams, a bar owner and Antoine’s ex-wife), Clarke Peters (Albert Lambreaux, a “displaced Mardi Gras Indian chief”), and Phyllis Montana LeBlanc (a real life survivor featured in Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke).

There will be musical guests, including Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands.

– The major theme is re-building, but it will also deal with issues like education and crime as the show progresses.

It’s not just devastation porn. Simon says: “New Orleans, to me, represents a place where it’s a triumph of American urban culture. It’s what — it’s the best that an American city can be and also the worst in a lot of ways, as I said before, but it has created a culture that has gone around the world.”

– Pierce thinks that New Orleans natives will be happy with the show because, “David and Eric (Overmyer) had a unique ability to find the specificity in a culture and depict it in a way that was authentic [on The Wire]. And so that’s happening, and that’s evident, and I’m happy about that. New Orleanians are very protective about their culture, and I think they would be happy about the specificity in the show.”