New Orleans, 38 months after. Barack Obama has just been elected to the White House, giving entrenched residents of this still-battered city reason for optimism. Yet for every Batiste, Lambreaux, McAlary and Desautel who hopes to improve his or her lot – or just return to a sense of pre-Katrina normalcy – others are intent on capitalizing on the city’s vulnerability and suffocating its culture. HBO’s drama series Treme revisits the musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other familiar New Orleanians who continue to rebuild their lives, their homes and their culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane that caused the near-death of an American city. In the series’ final five episodes, which take place from November 2008 through Mardi Gras 2009, the promise of economic and cultural recovery – heightened by a historic presidential election – is tempered by sobering economics, continued police corruption, and the ongoing specter of violence and crime. Still, the connection Treme’s protagonists have with their city keeps them committed to its future – and to building their own legacy in this most iconic of American cities.
Straight outa the Sixth Ward, pure Treme trombonist Antoine Batiste totes his horn from gig to gig. He has mouths to feed. His ex-wife LaDonna is taking care of their sons with her current husband, Larry, but his girlfriend Desiree and baby daughter Honorée depend on him.
LaDonna grew up in New Orleans, lovingly watching her father work in Gigi's Place, the tavern she now owns. Katrina scattered her family; her sons Alcide and Randall Batiste and husband Larry Williams are in Baton Rouge while her mother and ex-husband Antoine Batiste remain in town. Weekly travel on I10 has become part of her routine.
Janette Desautel is one of New Orleans up-and-coming chefs in a city known for its restaurants. Her Uptown neighborhood restaurant, Desautel's, survived Katrina but keeping it staffed and stocked since has been a challenge...as is rebuilding her flood-damaged home in Mid-City.
Delmond has gigs -- in New York, in Boston, in cities far from his native New Orleans. An accomplished trumpet player, he prefers Dizzy, Miles, and Bird to brass band music, and living in New York. Albert Lambreaux's post-storm return to New Orleans is forcing Delmond, his only son, to reconnect to his roots.
A shift lieutenant in the NOPD and good friend to Toni Bernette, Terry Colson is good police. He recognizes the additional trauma Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans have brought upon his already troubled department, but he won't let that be an excuse for shoddy police work.