'Treme': Defying Hurricane Katrina's Disaster Narrative

'Treme': Defying Hurricane Katrina's Disaster Narrative

As an outsider to New Orleans, it was a privilege to step into the world of these New Orleans residents after Katrina

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"Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, outsiders will have two versions of the Katrina experience. One version will be the images they recall from news coverage of the aftermath. The other will be the intimate portrayal of the determination of New Orleans residents to rebuild and recover their lives." - the blurb of "HBO's Treme and Post-Katrina Catharsis: The Mediated Rebirth of New Orleans"

I remember late in 2005, turning the channel to CNN and seeing image after image of Hurricane Katrina's devastation on New Orleans. I remember seeing the levees break, the houses flood, the crowding of the Superdome, and I remember the first thing 8-year-old me thought at the time was "thank God I'm not there. Thank God it's not me." All I knew was the disaster and the devastation, and when news channels like CNN stopped covering New Orleans after the storm, that's all I knew

"The Wire," "Treme's" predecessor, was the best show of all time because it taught me empathy and compassion. "Treme" is a great show, too, because it defied that disaster narrative and showed me the grit of some New Orleans residents. "Treme" is still the slowest show I have ever watched. To stick with it through the end could sometimes feel like watching a Ken Burns history documentary, but that is the nature of the show: it required a whole lot of patience.

Newsday's Verne Gay's review of the show titled it "'Treme' final season premiere review: Still good, still not for everyone," and that headline rings true as an umbrella for the show. No one I have talked to has heard of the show, not one person has referenced it in conversation - in fact, I only started watching it because David Simon, the creator of "The Wire," was its writer.

Nevertheless, I finished "Treme" with mixed feelings. I think I will need to watch it again, when I'm older and more fully able to appreciate the show, and maybe after I actually visit New Orleans. According to Akiva Gottlieb of The Nation, "David Simon [in "The Wire"]...has unforgettably cataloged all the reasons to quit; now he wants to know why the struggle could be worthwhile." While it is a great review that is worth reading, to keep "Treme" in the shadow of its predecessor to stop from reducing the show. It's difficult when the likes of Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters, prominent main characters in "The Wire," were also main characters in "Treme," but for its own sake, "Treme" should be interpreted as its own show with its own unique structure.

One thing that struck out to me about "Treme," that will most likely always strike out to me, is the resilience of its characters. We follow the same group of people throughout four seasons, people from all walks of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Initially, I thought Simon was going to depict LaDonna Williams, the owner of a local bar, or Antoine Batiste, a local trombonist, as victims of the disaster, and use the show as a just that: a disaster narrative, with an indictment on the institutions that failed the victims of Katrina (much like "The Wire").

But it wasn't. These characters had a tremendous amount of grit, will, and a refusal to give up despite the circumstances of Katrina's aftermath. Look no further than Albert Lambreaux, leader of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe named Guardians of the Flame, whose motto, "won't bow, don't know how," defines his character throughout the series. In one instance, "Big Chief" Lambreaux flat out denies chemotherapy for lymphoma to suit up for the next Mardi Gras. The types of people on the show range from DJs, developers, civil rights attorneys, police lieutenants, and violinists, but all of the mare united by this grit. Above all, all of them are united by their loyalty to New Orleans, not despite its dysfunction after Katrina, but perhaps because of it. Their names are Davis McAlary, Nelson Hidalgo, Toni Bernette, Terry Colson, and Annie Talarico, respectively.

Near the end of the series, Terry, the police lieutenant is visiting his estranged ex-wife and sons, and has a conversation at the dinner table where he asks why do people have to be defined by their profession. He isn't Terry the cop: he is just a guy named Terry. And each character is not defined by their profession or their circumstances after the storm. They are defined by their names, personas, and how they reacted in the face of adversity, and each character had unique ways of doing that.

In fact, one character even resembles perceptions of David Simon himself: Davis McAlary. Pardon the language, but McAlary, for a good portion of the series, is an annoying piece of shit: a rich, privileged white man who attempts to publicize and use New Orleans's suffering to promote his own career as a musician and DJ. But despite his vanity, McAlary is redeeming in the way he treats the people around him and the people he works with respect - and he is no longer DJ Davis, but instead just Davis, a person I feel is a friend.

And what struck out to me was how much I liked not only Davis, LaDonna, and Terry by the end, but how much I liked every character and how they carried on. For me, it was a privilege to share the journeys of Antoine and Sonny as they changed their lives over the course of several years. It was a privilege to step into Janette's various kitchens and see the life of a woman striving to build her own restaurant. It was a privilege to step into Toni's attempt to bring justice to the NOPD. It was a privilege to step into the world of Delmond as he tried to balance the terminal cancer of his father and his career as a prominent trumpeter.

As an outsider to New Orleans, it was a privilege to step into the world of these New Orleans residents after Katrina, and experience this first hand:

"Treme offers outsiders an inside look into why New Orleanians refused to abandon a place that many questioned should not be rebuilt after the levees failed."

Cover Image Credit:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Treme_(5125861363).jpg

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14 Inspirational 'Winnie The Pooh' Quotes For College Kids Feeling Like Eeyore

Of course he with the help of his friends.

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Winnie the Pooh and his friends were my best buds as a child. Now, as a college student, I've realized they knew more about life than I thought.

These 14 quotes from the 'Winnie the Pooh' movies, TV shows, and books, is getting me through this difficult semester, and maybe it will help you, too.

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Christopher Robin

"The nicest thing about rain is that it always stops. Eventually." -Eeyore

"The things that make me different are the things that make me." -Piglet

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." -Eeyore

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." -Winnie the Pooh

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." -Piglet

"Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be." -Eeyore

"Spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count." -Rabbit

"There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumbling out of bed." -Tigger

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." -Winnie the Pooh

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I have been." -Winnie the Pooh

"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." -Eeyore 

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for other to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -Piglet

"When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." -Winnie the Pooh

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Music Review: Greta Van Fleet, "Anthem of the Peaceful Army"

The best rock album of the year.

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Greta Van Fleet is a rock band with a classic rock sound. But what is so amazing is that the four members, 3 of which are brothers, are between the ages of 19 and 22. You have Josh, the lead singer; Jake, who plays guitar; Sam, who plays the bass and piano; and Danny, who plays the drums. They just released their first full album this year, back in October. I have been waiting for this album for so long and it is just so awesome! I love it. I ordered a vinyl record when it was released and it is amazing. This is a breakdown of each song, and what you can expect from each one.

1.​ Age Of Man

Age Of Man: This is the opening song of the album. The song starts off slow, but it reminds me of something mystical. The lyrics of the whole song remind me of an oral story that is being told from an elder to the younger people about how we as people have come about. Josh's vocals are just amazing in the chorus, he can really belt! Overall I think this is a great song, and it's a great opening to what these guys want to tell.

2. The Cold Wind

The Cold Wind: This song is just so fun. Sam does an amazing job in the bass in this song. It sounds so intricate and really adds a lot to this song. Furthermore, Jake's little guitar solo is so fun. One thing that is starting to grow on me about this song is the vocals in the middle of the song where Josh is just saying "Ma ma ma ma ma…". It sounds a little funny and the first time I heard it I actually laughed out loud because it reminded me of a confused dodo bird. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it because it's just such a fun thing. This is the kind of song that I can just stupidly dance around to and have fun with it.

3. When The Curtain Falls

When The Curtain Falls: I actually had this song stuck in my head for the past few nights while trying to sleep, which was interesting. But this song is so fun. Just every aspect of this song, from the vocals to the guitar, to the drums, to the bass, perfectly melds together to create this masterpiece. Also, Jake does a sick guitar riff. Like I am blown away! Just so good.

4. Watching Over

Watching Over: We're slowing it down again. But it has a psychedelic feel to it. This song is much more serious than some of the other ones. The chorus really hits on the point how much we have ruined our planet, but we don't want to see it or fix it because many people are acting like it's fine. Kind of a deep and depressing song, but so relevant and thought provoking. A very interesting detail that I hope you hear when listening to this, it kind of freaked me out the first time I heard it, but during the part when Josh sings, "With the water rising" you can hear like a deeper voice singing it too. Perhaps it's the one watching over?

5. Lover, Leaver

Lover, Leaver: This song is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a 70s song because of the way the instruments come together. It gives a feeling of Woodstock and nostalgia. Furthermore, the lyrics are a fun play on words. For example, "Lover, leaver" sounds like "love her, leave her". I don't know if they meant for that to happen, but it just adds a bit extra to the song. The ending is mind boggling. Danny does an amazing job on those drums. I can only imagine how tiring it must be.

6. You're The One

You're The One: This song is just so cute and loving. Sam does a great job on the piano, which adds a lot of character to the song. It sounds like a song I've heard before, like this could be a cover to an older song, but I can't find anything about it. Obviously they've done a good job achieving that older sound if I think it sounds like an older song. This is a great song and I highly recommend this song if you want something a bit more relaxed and loving.

7. The New Day

The New Day: I love this song. It makes me feel so inspired to just go out and love people. The opening line, which is my favorite, just says it all, "Let the new day shine its light on me". What a powerful opening line! However, there's a line that says, "You're growing up I'll watch you bloom" but I always think he's saying "You're throwing up". I think that's just a "me problem", but it makes the song a bit funnier. Anyway, I feel like a flower child when I listen to this song, and that's all I want in life. I hope that this song inspires you too and that you wake up each day with a fresh start.

8. Mountain of the Sun

Mountain of the Sun: Another great song. This is an awesome song to listen to while hiking or just out and about. The opening guitar sounds so cool, and makes you feel like you're on a journey. Josh's voice is just so incredible, but it really shines in this song. Jake has an awesome riff in this song, and one of my favorite parts is when they use the tambourine. It's such a simple sound, but it adds another layer to this song.

9. Brave New World

Brave New World: This song is much darker than the others, in respect to both content and sound. This song again reflects on the damage that we have done to this earth, but a more social commentary on it. One of my favorite lines of the song is "kill fear, the power of lies For we will not be hypnotized" because fear is a powerful thing, and fear is a liar. It makes us believe lies that we tell ourselves or that we hear from others. Once you realize this, you will not give in to fear and you will know the truth. Again, Jake has an amazing rift near the end and Sam does some awesome things with the bass. They just kill it every time.

10. Anthem

Anthem: This song is personally one of my other favorites. It's one of their slower songs but it ties the whole album together since it is the "Anthem" of the Peaceful Army. The song talks about how there are so many problems in the world and everyone has different opinions, but we should "agree to disagree" on our opposing views and just love each other. This is a chill song. It almost has a tropical feel to it, so you feel so relaxed.

11. Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)

Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer): This is an extended version of "Lover, Leaver" and it is just as amazing. It's a bit longer because there is more of a rif in the middle. You get so much more from all of the members. You just have to listen to this song because they all just do such an amazing job making this song even more perfect, which I didn't even know was possible.

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