I almost bit a good part of my lip off this morning as I worked my way through a bagel with lox and The New Yorker.
How has the new David Simon series NOT BEEN ON MY RADAR????
In a piece entitled "After The Flood," Nancy Franklin prepped audiences for tonight's premiere of Treme on HBO. David Simon, of The Wire and The Corner fame has teamed up with Eric Overmeyer (writer/producer credited with Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street) to portray a collective of New Orleanian artists and musicians struggling in the first handful of months post-Katrina. Two things which have brought my worlds into a tighter focus: The Wire (and, more specifically, all of the ills that trouble my home city) and New Orleans...how has this escaped my lexicon??
Anyway, I unfortunately do not have HBO. Ugh.
Still- I am ecstatic to hear that Simon is lending his golden touch to the NOLA cause. The Baltimore Sun, eager to hail our hometown hero, referred to him as one of the greatest anthropologists of our time. I don't know what Simon's personal investment in New Orleans is (although Franklin notes that "[Simon] has spoken of his love of New Orleans music and his feeling about the importance of the city [...]") but I'd gladly eat it up with a spoon after what he did for putting inner-city Baltimore on the map, controversy and all. His calculated eye that led us through the infinitely complicated matters of the drug, political, and justice systems of Baltimore could no doubt lend some brilliant commentary on post-Katrina New Orleans and the equally infinitely complicated matters that still plague the city.
Hit. Head. On. Plate. Of. Lox. No HBO.
Netflix. In the meantime, I've queued up Spike Lee's four-hour documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Parts to tide me over. And I've crawled my way through the first fourth of 1 Dead In Attic, which is actually proving more difficult than I had anticipated. Rose's quirky, not entirely humor-less prose excavates some painful and often shocking anecdotes about those first post-apocalyptic days and weeks post-Katrina when he and a handful of other journalists camped out in a city completely shut down. There are times when I find myself having to put the book down, finding the imagery too close, and beginning even to smell the corpsey olfactory cues he lays down as I imagine a city full of stinking rot and mold. Definitely not a book to read over some bagels and lox on a Sunday morning.
I'm finding much inspiration plugging into this creative and intellectual probing of what Katrina and New Orleans mean in our post-modern world, and how the problems and issues leak into every aspect of our American culture. Socio-economics, race, faith, politics, and a nest of ancient history culminate into a fascinating anthropological opportunity.
Cheers to David Simon for taking this on. And thanks for the tip the other day: I had the opportunity to wait on him and his wife, Laura Lippman, when they came in for lunch. You'll be happy to know I was very professional and did not fawn one bit. That was, however, before I knew that he was going to be putting New Orleans back onto network television. No promises that next time I see him I don't throw my arms around him in gratitude.