Down in the Treme

Treme, the new HBO dramatic series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, two of my colleagues from The Wire, has begun airing on Sunday nights at 10. I was on the writing team that included Simon, Overmyer, Tom Piazza, Lolis Ellie, and David Mills, who passed away while we were in production. David Mills was a gentleman and a friend.

Part of the pleasure of being a writer is absorbing new experiences and new settings. Every time I write a book or work on a TV show or movie, it is as if I am getting a new job. Or, to put it another way, I am learning something and making a change in my life. Who among us does not look at that as a positive thing?

Clarke Peters, Lawrence Turner
Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi

I am not a New Orleans native. I do not even make the claim of being a part-time resident or frequent visitor to the city. The last time I spent any significant time there was in 1976, when I was 19 years old. I was doing my Huck Finn thing that summer, driving around the South in my '70 Camaro with my friend Steve Rados. No obligations and no plans, outside of having a whole lot of fun. Virginia Beach, Nags Head, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Key West´┐Żyou can pretty much guess what was on the program. Fittingly, the last stop of the trip was New Orleans. We stayed there until the money ran out, then drove back to D.C., 1,000 miles in 24 hours, straight through.

Clarke Peters, Lorenzo Hurd
Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi

Treme is about people and an American city. We deal with the rebuilding of lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It is not a cop show, lawyer show, or hospital show, and as such will be unfamiliar terrain for many viewers. But I hope folks will give us a try. It is not downbeat in the least. The performances are top notch, and the music is incredible. For those keeping track, I wrote episodes #4 and #9 of Season 1.

Wendell Pierce
Photo Credit: Skip Bolen

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George Pelecanos