The third season of David Simon’s Treme begins tomorrow on HBO, continuing an exhilarating run for fans of New Orleans culture and nuanced storytelling. The major plotlines resume—Toni fights the good fight, Antoine grows more civic-minded, LaDonna reclaims old territory, Delmond feels the pull of his native city and all his father represents, Janette weighs “top chef” status, etc—but, more importantly, the series continues to demonstrate how a strong cultural community can overcome just about anything.
In fact, prints ads for the series suggest exactly that, by trumpeting: “Hurricanes. Floods. Crime. Corruption. Betrayal. Greed. Neglect. Is that all you got?” Ultimately, the city’s music, food, and sturdy sense of itself transcend such calamities, and every episode of Treme reinforces the point.
It makes me think back to when some people criticized The Wire for not offering solutions to the urban ills it portrayed. Well, here’s a proposition for dealing with them in ways that foster individual creativity and collective pride. It may not be a solution, but, considering the state of things, it’s the next best thing. In fact, it may be all we have.