Friday, March 19, 2010

'Treme' Premieres on April 11 on HBO Canada

It appears that True Blood won't be the only TV series from HBO that is set in Louisianna. In fact, HBO Canada announced that Treme, a one-hour drama series taking place during the post-Katrina period, will premiere on Sunday, April 11 at 10 PM.

Treme begins in fall 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina and the massive engineering failure that resulted in the flooding of 80 per cent of the city and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents. More than half the city’s population is elsewhere and much of the city is wrecked, muddied and caked in mould. The tourists have yet to return, the money that follows them is scarce, and residents can take solace only in the fact that the city’s high levels of crime have migrated to Houston and Baton Rouge. For those returning, housing is hard to come by, with many waiting on insurance cheques that may never arrive.

The drama unfolds with Antoine Bastiste (Wendell Pierce), a smooth-talking trombonist who is struggling to make ends meet; his ex-wife, LaDonna Batiste-Williams (Khandi Alexander) a bar owner concerned over the disappearance of her younger brother David; Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo), an overburdened underpaid civil rights attorney; Toni’s husband Creighton (John Goodman), a university professor and local history expert who’s becoming an increasingly outspoken critic of the institutional response to the disaster; Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn), a rebellious radio disc jockey and musician; Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens), Davis’ occasional partner and a popular chef hoping to regain momentum for her newly re-opened restaurant; Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), a displaced Mardi Gras Indian Chief who returns to find his home and his tribe, The Guardians of the Flame, scattered; and Albert’s son Delmond (Rob Brown), an exile in New York playing modern jazz and looking beyond New Orleans for his future.

The series is named for the Faubourg Tremé (a historic neighbourhood just to the lakeside of the more celebrated French Quarter in New Orleans). Jazz itself was said to be born there, created by the slaves of Creole planters who were allowed to drum and chant on Sundays and market days in a public area that came to be known as Congo Square. In addition to honouring the actual chronology of political, economic and cultural events following the storm, Treme will also feature cameos by notable real-life New Orleanians and musicians and artists associated with the city’s music, 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.

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