Anthony Bourdain in downtown New Orleans for the week long shoot of his show 'No Reservations'. Pictured with Bourdain is 'Treme' star Wendell Pierce.
The fifth episode of "Treme's" second season aired Sunday (May 22).
Here's HBO's semi-spoilery capsule:
Lt. Colson (David Morse) questions the quality of police investigations; Janette lands at Le Bernardin; Annie (Lucia Micarelli) tries composing; Aunt Mimi gets a track from rapper Mannie Fresh, while Davis discovers a new talent; Sofia lands an internship in Councilman Oliver Thomas’ office.
What did you think of the episode?
Tell us your thoughts in the Comments section.
New Orleans movie-goers who head to the Theatres at Canal Place for "The Hangover Part II" when that movie opens later this month can plan on getting a little post-Katrina lagniappe.The storm-inspired short film "Floodwaters" -- a 12-minute drama inspired by the experience of New Orleans police officers in the wake of the storm -- will screen before every showing of "The Hangover" for the first week of its run at the theater, from May 26 to June 2.
Written, produced and starring local actor Scott Muller, "Floodwaters" is inspired by real events and focuses on the confrontation between a New Orleans police officer accused of fleeing the city in a stolen Cadillac after the storm, and a fellow cop who stayed behind to protect his city.
"I wanted to depict both the incredible heroism of many officers and the criminality of a few others," Muller said of his script in a press release announcing the film.
Directed by Larry Carrell and Joshua Drapes, the film also stars Werner Richmond and Mary Allen-Keating, two actors from Houston, where the film was shot.
A feature-length screenplay based on the story of the main characters in "Floodwaters" -- which Muller says cernters on a frantic search for a missing person, a la Orson Wells' "The Third Man" -- is currently being pitched to local and out-of-state producers.
'Treme' Season 2 Episode 1
For an episode of Treme, “Everything I Do…” didn’t give us a whole lot to chew on. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but it felt a bit slight for the series, even if slight for Treme is “great” in comparison to most other things on television.
The episode’s most compelling story is also what it opens with. Del is back in town promoting his new jazz album on a radio interview.
He dedicates a song to his father, Albert, who’s listening while painting some nice house. But as it starts up, Albert wordlessly leaves the house. It’s the first of several instances in this episode that point to something being horribly wrong with Albert, a man who last season could not be brought down by anything.Continue Reading The Entire Review of Treme by John Ryan
By Lolis Eric Elie
At ‘Treme,’ we take great pride in the fact that we shoot on location in New Orleans. In that way we are constantly in touch with the real people and places we seek to portray. It’s still necessary to construct sets from time to time. After all, for our first season we were shooting in the fall of 2009 in an effort to recreate events from the fall of 2005; and now we are turning 2011 into 2006. A lot has changed.
It is our production designer Chester Kaczenski who creates these illusions. His job can be as simple as choosing and placing a few accent pieces (a painting on this wall, a desk on that one) in a home or office that we have appropriated for a set. It can be as complicated as recreating an entire block of storm-ruined houses.
From time to time, we’ll be featuring some before and after photos of Chester’s work to give you some sense of how the material world of ‘Treme’ comes to be.
Wild Man Jesse's street
WILD MAN JESSE
Looking back to first season, in Episode 103, Albert Lambreaux goes to the Lower 9th Ward to the home of Jesse Hurd, the “wild man” of his Indian tribe. Albert finds Wild Man Jesse’s body underneath a canoe, in the garage behind the house.
The house we used for the scene had no garage. The street we used had been cleaned up and, though not pristine, it didn’t look like it did in 2005. The question for Chester was how to convey this destruction even though the camera would not necessarily pause to show all of the finer details of his design work.
“From my research of that time, I knew a lot of the telephone poles were down. We made a few fake telephone poles. If you didn’t see much, you could at least see that.
“There was lots of sand and mud around, so we sprayed mud and wet river sand everywhere. The house we used for Wild Man Hurd’s was not being lived in. They were going to tear it down. So we were able to add another layer of mud.
“The script called for seeing the body. We built a single-car garage and aged it down. We got a special body from an effects house in Los Angeles, a decomposed corpse. Then we had to make the clothes look decomposed.
“When we were doing this, we went into the neighborhoods and talked to people in the immediate block to be respectful and to hear their stories. We wanted them to be on board with what we were trying to do. I thought that was really important. Even though you are telling a story that is sympathetic to the community, it’s still entertainment, and these people had just lived through all this. We also had cleanup crews come in as soon as we were through.”
Rob Streeck of LaPlace, center, in TNT's crime drama, 'Memphis Beat'
LaPlace resident Rob Streeck was minding his own business, watering his lawn one afternoon, when a pair of police cars zoomed past him on U.S. 51.Startled at first, Streeck was really surprised when he looked up to see "Memphis Police" stickers on the side of the cars.
"I thought, 'Wow. That's one heck of a long police chase, all the way from Memphis,'" Streeck said.
Then he spotted the pair of St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office cars blocking off the street at each end.
"I walked over and asked what was going on," Streeck said. "And the cop told me they were filming some movie called 'Memphis Beat.'"
A couple of mouse clicks on the computer later, and Streeck had all the information he needed. And, not long after that, he also had a job as a featured extra, playing, what else, a cop.
"I pointed to my (bald) head and said, 'I have cop hair,'" said Streeck, who actually is a music instructor. "They said, 'Go to wardrobe.'"
Memphis Beat, starring Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard, is a crime drama about an Elvis-loving cop and his quirky group of associates who solve crimes in and around the city of Memphis.
But Louisiana offers all sorts of tax incentives to the film industry, and LaPlace has a big, brand new, state-of-the art civic center that a lot of film companies have come to love because of its size and sound stage amenities. LaPlace also has a rather unique style of architecture that, apparently, resembles that of Memphis, along with a lot of picturesque locales throughout the River Parishes area.
So that is how LaPlace, Louisiana, has become the television stand-in for Memphis, Tennessee.
"It really has been a miracle for us," said Chris Morgan, the producer and unit production manager for the show, whose father Harry played Col. Sherman T. Potter on the long-running series M*A*S*H. "Our office is in Metairie, but our stage and everything we do is in St. John Parish."
In addition to the location right off interstate 10, Morgan said the civic center's interior amenities are "ideal."
"A lot of these people aren't from here and it takes them a while to get used to this heat and humidity," he said."But the sound stage is air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. It's quiet. It's just off the interstate. It's ideal."
And River Parishes residents have become accustomed to being a part of Hollywood South, learning to recognize the ubiquitous yellow signs pointing the way for cast and crew. Several movies have used the area as backdrops, including Interview With the Vampire, Monster's Ball and Glory Road.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt, was the first feature film to use the St. John Civic Center cum movie set.
Read more on Nola.com
On the wall of the writers’ office, we have a timeline, a month-by-month chart of what happened in New Orleans from the fall of 2006 to the spring of 2007. We group these events into categories: music/culture, crime, police, land use/planning, environment, education and mental health. The writers consult these notes in order to include references to major events and allusions to minor ones in the script. This will give you some idea of the issues we’ve considered in putting together Season 2. I’ll go a step further. To see some of the notes on the cards, go to the Treme blog
The story of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is one ripe for dramatization. That Hollywood didn’t immediately sweep in and make a movie is almost relatively admirable.
I doubt many residents of New Orleans ever spent any time thinking about how good or bad a visualization of their city’s horror and subsequent rebuilding would be, but knowing that a HBO production, Treme, was coming to town probably made them a bit squeamish.
Not only would it definitely be hard to watch, what if it didn’t portray the city and its culture well, choosing instead to stoop to well-worn stereotypes?
What if it didn’t take the situation seriously enough? What if it was just a crappy show?
Continue Reading the Review Of HBO's Treme Season One By John Ryan
co-creator of 'Treme' David Simon
During the run-up to Sunday's (April 24) season-two premiere, Times-Picayune and www.NOLA.com readers were offered the opportunity to pose questions to "Treme" co-creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer.Race, workload, and pets are the topic.Click here to read the full Q & A
Vanna White wears a dress by New Orleans designer Harold Clarke
For 28 years, Vanna White has brought more than letter-lighting skills to “Wheel of Fortune.”
The game show mistress brings a touch of classic TV glam to her hosting duties: big smile, coiffed hair, evening dress. Her style, swishing around the puzzle board in floor-length silk, is in no small part a factor of the show’s long-running appeal.
White calls it the “bow on the package.”
“They don’t need me to turn letters. A computer can turn letters,” she said last weekend, dressed casually in a fitted button-down and slim-cut pants. She was backstage at the Morial Convention Center, where “America’s Game Show,” which averages 26 million viewers each week, was taping 15 New Orleans episodes in three jam-packed, vowel-buying days.
“Wheel’s” set and White’s wardrobe both got a New Orleans makeover for the local episodes, which will begin airing May 2 at 6:30 p.m. on WVUE-TV.
Fashion designer Harold Clarke, known for his Carnival gowns and bridal couture, dressed the size-4 hostess for two week’s worth of appearances. She’ll don dresses from Pearl’s Place, a Metairie boutique, for the final week.
Clarke’s designs for the show have his signature verve — bold colors (electric blue, Mardi Gras purple, sunny yellow), classic silhouettes (mermaid and full skirts, fitted waists) and a smattering of deft fabric manipulation (pleating, pin-tucking and ruffling) for figure-flattery and visual interest. In all, they should pop off the small screen.
“For New Orleans, we wanted to do something a little splashier, and we all agreed that Harold Clarke is one of the most impressive designers working here,” said show stylist Roberta Ann Wagner.
A native of Jamaica who moved to New Orleans in 1994, Clarke gets quite a bit of work these days from the Louisiana movie industry. His designs were used for scenes in “I Love You Phillip Morris,” and the Lifetime Network’s made-for-TV “Tribute,” based on the Nora Roberts book.
In designing for White, Clarke had artistic license. The only caveats: The host can’t wear off-the-shoulder because she has to lift her arms, and she has to be able to walk freely.
Since “Wheel of Fortune” tapes 295 episodes a year, White clocks a fair amount of time in evening gowns and cocktail frocks. The rolling rack in her dressing room goes through a variety of mid-range labels, from Donna Ricco to Sherri Hill to Sue Wong.
How does Clarke’s work compare?
“His dresses fit like a glove,” she said. “His designs are distinctive, and they make a woman feel good in them. They make me feel good in them.”
So good that this is the second time Clarke has gotten the nod to dress White for a “Wheel” spin around the Crescent City.
The first time came in 2005, when the game rolled its “Wheelmobile” Winnebago into town. Wagner had called around to fashion magazine editors, asking for recommendations on local designers. Clarke’s name kept coming up, she said.
Kathi Nishimoto, the show’s costume designer, also had spotted the silk- and satin-clad mannequins in Clarke’s studio while walking in the French Quarter. (Pre-Katrina, his atelier was behind the Ritz-Carlton.)
“When we do a remote (taping) we try to find a local designer or boutique in that city to get the dresses,” Nishimoto said. “It adds a lot of excitement to the shows.”
Co-host Pat Sajak, White and their Los Angeles crew arrived at the Morial Convention Center in late August 2005, as Hurricane Katrina swirled in the Gulf of Mexico.
When the storm drew a bead on the city, the crew rushed to evacuate, and Wagner whisked Clarke’s gowns into the Ritz Carlton, where they were locked in a vault.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, Clarke’s shop was looted and everything inside — sketches, fabrics, dresses — was destroyed.
“We evacuated to Atlanta, and I was watching TV and saw a guy running down Canal Street carrying a white bag with my name on it. I thought, ‘No, that can’t be my bag,’” Clarke said. “What would they be doing with my bag?”
The rest is a familiar tale. “I had this big insurance policy, and they didn’t want to give us any money,” Clarke said. “And no one needed dresses after the hurricane. I had no business and nothing to work with.”
Then he remembered the dresses in the Ritz Carlton vault.
“It was like God calling me, when I heard they had those dresses,” he said.
Setting up business again, he bought new mannequins and shimmied them into White's wardrobe.
"Wheel of Fortune” borrows gowns in exchange for a mention of the designer's name in the popular show’s closing credits, a nod that can be more valuable than payment.
For the week of March 28-April 1, “Wheel” averaged nearly 60,000 local viewers per episode. It’s the most-watched show on WVUE’s lineup save for episodes of “American Idol.”
“It’s everything in this business,” Clarke said of the publicity. “It’s all about getting the recognition, getting your name out there.”
Designers also get recognition on VannaStyle.com, a page that chronicles each week’s getups and allows fans to vote on their favorites.
“I get letters from people all the time about my dresses,” White said. “People absolutely tune in just to see what I wear.”