by Kevin Allman
Rolling Stone's Sarene Leeds has a nice interview with Treme star Wendell Pierce; the whole thing is worth reading, but here are a couple of questions to whet the appetites of Treme-heads:
How has it been filming a series in your hometown after doing five seasons in Baltimore for The Wire?
First of all, Baltimore and New Orleans are very similar. Some of the urban problems that you find in Baltimore you find in New Orleans. Also, there's a church on every corner and a barroom on every other. And I don't know if it's just because I fell in love with the people of Baltimore — I fell in love with the city. And so it became a second home. But shooting in New Orleans has been a tale of two cities for me. It's a great joy to come home, refine my craft … The other side of it is I am rebuilding my neighborhood, Pontchartrain Park. I have a community development corporation, and I'm getting all the properties that were sold back to the government and we're rebuilding those properties with geothermal and solar homes.
How have New Orleanians reacted to Treme?
What happens with Treme is there are watch parties all over the city. A big one is at Charbonnet Funeral Home, right in Tremé [the New Orleans neighborhood], one of the stalwart businesses of Tremé. And they have hundreds of people that gather there on Sunday nights to watch the show. And then in different bars, and different music studios, people around the city kind of stop, and collectively watch Treme. And it's been, like, the biggest group therapy session. It shows you the diversity of our community. It shows you the quirkiness of New Orleans, and as different as we are, it shows you how much we share in common. That we have a love of our city, a love of family, and our culture — music and food and family — nothing is more important than that. And so what we're going to try to do this year, as a cast, we're going to go around to the different watch parties and surprise them.
Pierce also drops some hints as to what his character Antoine will be doing; check out Rolling Stone for the details.