by Kevin Allman
"The Wire" creator David Simon is recruiting some old friends for his new HBO pilot.
"Wire" alumni Wendell Pierce and Clarke Peters are set to star in "Treme," a post-Katrina-themed drama that chronicles the rebuilding of New Orleans through the eyes of local musicians.
Khandi Alexander, who worked with Simon on "The Corner" and is coming off CBS' "CSI: Miami," is in final negotiations for a role.
Pierce will play Antoine Batiste, an accomplished jazz trombonist who is now scratching for gigs, trying to support a live-in girlfriend and a new baby, while still carrying a torch for a failed marriage to Ladonna Batiste (Alexander), the mother of his two children, who is single-handedly keeping her bar afloat. Peters will play Albert Lambreaux, a big chief of the White Feather Nation trying to bring the tribe's members home.
"Treme," which Simon created with Eric Overmyer, takes its title from an area in New Orleans.
- That plot description could go either way, verisimilitude-wise, but given Simon and Overmyer's cred, scoop 'em up a heaping benefit of the doubt....
- Two big pluses: All the folks on The Wire were outstanding actors and Khandi Alexander is similarly excellent...
- Overmyer is a part-time resident, so he can probably be counted upon to know that "Cher" is a Chris Owens-like, ageless entertainer rather than a term of endearment in the Seventh Ward.
Hopeful signs. We'll see.