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Plot Predictions and Mardi Gras Past & Present

Deconstructing Treme



 

This week, NoDef, sat down with the regulars to discuss where they though the show was heading. Afterwards, we spoke with regular contributor Paul McRambles about Mardi Gras past and present.

 

Rumors

Annie & Sonny– Many speculated that Annie and Sonny are going to evolve into Addie and Zachary, a NOLA couple gone awry post Katrina. Zachary fell deep into depression and drugs. In October 2006, he snapped, and killed Addie, and then cooked her remains in crawfish pot. The story was Ethan Brown’s book, Shake the Devil Off.

 

 

Creighton Bernette– As we have all read, Creighton Bernette, is based on the late, great, New Orleans legend, Ashley Morris. In 2008, Morris died of unexpected heart failure, shrouding NOLA’s online world in grief. We fear the same fate awaits Goodman’s character. Certainly, we have seen massive depression bordering on suicidal tendencies, and the pipe has been laid for a medical catastrophe. (His daughter has even warned him “not to stroke out.”) Yes, Goodman is a big name, but David Simon has never been shy about writing off major characters, (See Stringer Bell.)

 

 

Toni Bernette & Daymo– Toni’s character is based on New Orleans attorney, Mary Howell. Howell, like Toni, is a defender of street performer, but also a prominent civil rights attorney who has taken on the case of the Danziger Bridge victims. These innocents were murdered in a still unraveling NOPD conspiracy following Katrina. Daymo’s case seems to be heading in this direction, and our regulars are expecting to see the cop-who-stole-the-cruiser return… under subpoena.

 

 

LaDonna Batiste-Williams & Antoine Batiste– Our panel unanimously believed that any native New Orleanian woman who owns a bar is smart enough not to get back together with a musician!

 

 

Mardi Gras

 

NoDef:So, Mardi Gras! Did you got to Mardi Gras as a kid?

P:Oh yeah! I’d always go down to Gallier Hall because the guy next door was a New Orleans Police Officer assigned to Gallier, and, literally, every parade would pass in front off Gallier Hall. He would take us kids, seven of us would pile into an Impala, and we would get there two hours before the parade would start. We would stay there all day!

 

 

NoDef: And did you take your own kids to Mardi Gras?

P:  Yes, but Mardi Gras Day, we spent out more towards the suburbs. I remember taking my daughter, before my son was born, up near City Park where Endymion started, and to some of the smaller parades where the crowds would be more manageable. You know, at the heart of Canal Street and Bourbon, with a 12 year old, there would be more a sense of self preservation.

NoDef: The little girl in Treme also loved Endymion! Is that their demographic?

P:Hard for me to say… When I grew up, Endymion was one of the smaller parades. It didn’t become a so-called “SuperParade” with monolithic floats and everything else, until much later.

NoDef: Endymion was the Krewe that flew Blain Kern to Italy to research Carnivales?

P: I think so. Bachus was the first SuperParade ever. They paraded for three or four years, I think, before Endymion became one of it’s contemporaries.

 

What I liked about the episode tonight is that John Goodman’s character sort of clawed at the dichotomy, between the plastic nature of some of the aspects versus some of the roots style Mardi Gras, more neighborhood-esque. When I grew up, the most fun that I remember having wasn’t so much those trips to Gallier Hall, but some of the foot parades that came before and afterward, started at Poland and St. Claude. My family owned a bar/restaurant in the Ninth Ward called Hertzdale’s and you’d go there and the Clydesdale would be out front of the place. So, we’d go there and pet the gigantic horses, to me, as a kid, what a Mardi Gras!

 

In the sixties, Mardi Gras used to be more community oriented, then it got really big, but recently, it has started to come back. In Treme, you saw them at some small marching parades. To me, that’s Mardi Gras, not being twelve deep trying to get a cheap pair of beads or a plastic cup.

 

 

NoDef: So, they talk about Comus and Momus in the episode. Can you elaborate?

P: To me, Comus was always the absolute worst parade known to man. They don’t parade anymore, all it is is a ball. Comus used to parade, the last prade on Mardi gras night, and it was a bunch of geezers maybe 70 years old who had to be strapped onto the floats or they would fall over the side, and it was always a bunch of crap. If those geezers threw a gross of beads between them, I’d be amazed. The deal used to be that the only way you can get into Comus is to show lineage that you had an ancestor in the parade.

I never got into, but they used to broadcast the meeting of the Monarchs on Mardi Gras Day [like in the episode.] They would have their balls separately inside the same Municipal Auditorium, and at the end come together.  If your idea of fun was going to a state funeral, you would love it. That was supposedly the climax of Mari Gras and it was one of the worst things known to man. It was so blue blood, and so boring; it was a disgrace to Mardi Gras.

 

 

NoDef: And that Mardi gras song throughout the episode?

P: Professor Longhair recorded that song, and it didn't go anywhere. He was led an impoverished life. He was working at the Music Box, not the club, the store. Inside the store, they had a jukebox, and he convinced the owner to let him put a 45 of the song in the jukebox. Well, the Professor had a second go-around, and the song became an anthem. Paul McCartney became his champion. McCartney recorded an album, Venus & Mars, in New Orleans, and the two built a relationship. McCartney took Professor Longhair out to Los Angeles in 76, and the two of them played a concert together. Although the music styles couldn't be any more different, it worked.

 

 

NoDef: Concluding thoughts?

P: Mardi Gras has sort of evolved back into what it used to be. Mardi Gras for a long time was very blue blooded and very elitist. I was also very fratty. Maybe, the Storm caused it to change.

Cheryl: Yeah, it used to be a day that you could do whatever you wanted to, not overblown.





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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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Michael Weber, B.A.

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Linzi Falk

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Alexis Manrodt


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