New Orleans, 38 months after. Barack Obama has just been elected to the White House, giving entrenched residents of this still-battered city reason for optimism. Yet for every Batiste, Lambreaux, McAlary and Desautel who hopes to improve his or her lot – or just return to a sense of pre-Katrina normalcy – others are intent on capitalizing on the city’s vulnerability and suffocating its culture. HBO’s drama series Treme revisits the musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and other familiar New Orleanians who continue to rebuild their lives, their homes and their culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane that caused the near-death of an American city. In the series’ final five episodes, which take place from November 2008 through Mardi Gras 2009, the promise of economic and cultural recovery – heightened by a historic presidential election – is tempered by sobering economics, continued police corruption, and the ongoing specter of violence and crime. Still, the connection Treme’s protagonists have with their city keeps them committed to its future – and to building their own legacy in this most iconic of American cities.
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