Prologue: It’s a weird kind of poetic irony that my review for this week’s episode of Treme was postponed because of a hurricane. Even though we on the East Coast had all manner of warning coming at us, somehow I knew it could never be as bad as Katrina was for the Gulf, and this colored my eyes action. Still, the few vague inconveniences that we have suffered here in Washington, DC have opened my eyes to the true effort that goes into preparing for, enduring, and recovering from a storm, even if it isn’t as bad as Katrina. Sure, I filled my car with gas, stocked up on food, and watched the Weather Channel with religious fervency beforehand and have had to deal with blackouts, downed trees and minor flooding afterward. But in the context of the damage we’ve seen on Treme this is all just a drop in the bucket.
That’s the kind of veracity that Treme has always relied on, making it almost impossible to tell the fabrications from the truth. The mingling of fact and fiction is haunting, in some ways, because one can never tell how many of the big plot points are taken from reality or not, and how much they are informed by narrative necessity. This is, after all, the show that got a councilman to play himself in the run up to his eventual corruption charges.
That cognitive dissonance plays into two of the main story lines developing this year. The first is the continuing bureaucratic nightmare that is the remediation and destruction of New Orleans homes left in tatters after the storm. Desiree is still trying to understand what happened to her mother’s home. It turns out that some people are even worse off than her, pouring money into their houses only to come home to find their works-in-progress torns asunder. Desiree’s house was apparently marked as a health hazard, which is why it was destroyed in spite of her signs. Her friend rightly says, “It’s like they didn’t want us coming back. It’s like they have a plan.” ‘They’ in this case is the same development minds looking to make the Jazz Hall, in addition to the city council members who voted to destroy the projects.
Desiree, however, won’t take this lying down. With her typical fire and passion she observes, “They fucking with the wrong people this time… I need to find a way to fuck these people up the way they did to me.” To this end she is now working with Karen Gadbois, who is trying to uncover and correct the injustices done to those who were waiting for money from insurance to fix their homes. She knows the motivator is money, and even has a blog about the various stories revolving around the plot.
Nelson, meanwhile, is still trying to work his way back into the development game. He learns a large amount of information regarding the political gang fight that is keep urban redevelopment and remediation on the slow track. He is most interested in the Jazz Center, which Del has finally brought up with his father, Albert.
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