Talking Treme and My Darlin’ New Orleans



The cast and crew of the HBO series Treme are currently in production for their third season, but they also are working hard to put on a star-studded fundraiser Saturday night at Generations Hall. Treme’s “My Darlin’ New Orleans” gala and auction will support Sweet Home New Orleans, The Roots of Music, and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Assistance Foundation. Tickets are $150, and musical entertainment will be provided by Irma Thomas, Little Freddie King and Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns and others. Recently I talked to some of the show’s stars and behind-the-scenes figures about the show, the fundraiser and what they love most about New Orleans.

GAMBIT: When will Season Three start up again?

Nina Noble, Executive Producer: We’ll air in September, but no specific premiere date has been set.

GAMBIT: What’s been your favorite musical number on the show so far?

David Simon, Co-Creator/Executive Producer: Well, we just filmed a little bit of Fats Domino sharing a moment at the piano with Davell Crawford. The dailies from that scene pretty much killed me dead. In previous seasons, I have a special affection for "Drink A Little Poison," which featured collaboration between John Mooney and the Soul Rebels, neither of whom had worked together before or were in any way familiar with each other's music. The sequence came out great nonetheless, surprising the artists a bit, and making the writers and producers feel like high-functioning alchemists.

Wendell Pierce, “Antoine Batiste”: For me, it was when I sang "Ghost of a Chance," a heartbroken lament for the city.

GAMBIT: What’s been the best neighborhood to film in?

Noble: We shoot 90 percent on location, in neighborhoods throughout the city. That is the great joy of making this show - that we are able to portray many different parts of the city, and some that are rarely seen by visitors. Wherever we go, we try to minimize the disruption to residents and businesses, by respecting their needs and concerns, but the fact is, though filming is of great benefit to the city and its residents as a whole, to those directly impacted by it, it is inconvenient. We try to make it as easy as possible in every neighborhood.

GAMBIT: How did the “My Darlin’ New Orleans” event get started?

Simon: It is a continuation of a charity-auction that we undertook in Baltimore during the years we were producing The Wire and The Corner there. It began in the wake of The Corner in 1999 and during our run in Baltimore, we raised about three-quarters of a million dollars for the Ella Thompson Fund of the Parks & People Foundation for Baltimore, a non-profit that directs recreation and educational programming to inner-city neighborhoods. On our arrival in New Orleans, the producers and crew wanted to attempt something similar.

GAMBIT: How did you choose your three beneficiary organizations Sweet Home New Orleans, The Roots of Music, and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Assistance Foundation?

Noble: These organizations are a good match for the themes of the show. We started season one with the Musician’s clinic, added the Roots of Music last season when in the story we started to deal with music education, and the effect of music on young people - a theme which continues in Season 3 - and this year we added Sweet Home New Orleans as a beneficiary since we now have a storyline about housing.

Part 2 tomorrow.

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