". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, April 9, 2010

HBO Tremé Reviews -- Compare and Contrast

New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Dave Walker states, "HBO's 'Treme' finally gets New Orleans right."
This is the screen depiction that New Orleans deserves, has always desired, but has been denied.
This is "Treme," debuting Sunday night at 9 on HBO.
New York Times:
Alessandra Stanley starts by informing the reader that Tremé is hard to pronounce.
"It’s a title that serves as a warning: people who say it wrong have no right to be there."
The promotional posters up in the subway, the phone kiosks and bus stops are stunning.  The radio promos for the HBO Tremé played hard and fast all week.  That promo intro, no matter how often I hear that eerie Mardi Gras Indian cry -- probably from a Spy Boy -- chills run over my skin.  It's so familiar, but so strange.  You can hear this only in New Orleans, very early, on Mardi Gras morning.  Each day this week, I anticipated ever more impatiently the Sunday night viewing party hosted by Treme's music director.

Edited to add a link to Katy Reckdahl's piece in today Times Picayune, "Treme anticipates life in 'Treme' spotlight."  She focuses on the Tremé neighborhood itself, Sylvester Francis and his Backstreet Museum, a museum of the Mardi Gras Indians, and who of the musicians and Indians remain.  She also looks seriously at the anxiety that if the show achieves a popularity the already endangered community and culture will be under even more negative pressure from rich, gentrifying white folks.

Sylvester and the Backstreet Museum were my first port of call on my first visit to New Orleans, on a sunny March Thursday that already feels like something from another time and life.


K. said...

If the show is a success, it should mean a temporary boost for Treme restaurants. But I can't see an HBO television show, no matter how good, accelerating gentrification.

Foxessa said...

Gentrification is going on even as I type. As mentioned in the article it had begun prior to K -- the flood temporarily halted the progress of it.

Living space in New Orleans is literally at a premium, which also jacks the price, of course. There are more people who want to live in New Orleans than there are places in New Orleans in which to live.

Love, C.