I suppose it’s time to share a piece of news. My old buddy David Simon – creator of “The Wire” – is working on a new project for HBO, a drama series called “Tremé.” It’s about post-Katrina New Orleans, with a focus on the music culture.
I will be one of the writers (along with series co-creator Eric Overmyer and novelist George Pelecanos).
HBO has greenlit a pilot episode and ordered a few more scripts, but we won’t know until next year whether “Tremé” goes all the way to series.
Simon, a huge music fan, knows New Orleans well, and Overmyer lives in the city for part of the year. But I never even visited New Orleans before arriving yesterday with Simon for a weeklong excursion. (Overmyer will join us today.)
In my first day, I got an eyeful and an earful. We marched for two hours alongside a second line parade as a young brass band funked it up.
From September thru December, a Sunday parade is almost a weekly occurrence in black New Orleans. Yesterday’s was organized by the Men of Class Social Aid & Pleasure Club.
Simon and I were rolling with Davis Rogan, a pianist, teacher, raconteur, gadfly and all-around funky white boy.
During the parade, local rap star Cheeky Blakk stepped up to dance with him and then meet the out-of-towners.
(Click here to hear a track that Cheeky recorded with Davis.)
We also stopped and chatted along the parade route with trombonist and bandleader Glen David Andrews, who was more than happy to meet a TV producer doing a show about New Orleans music.
Later, I tagged along as Simon hit Sidney’s Saloon – a.k.a. Kermit’s Lounge – to say hey to Kermit Ruffins, trumpet player extraordinaire. (Kermit was wearing an Obama-Biden button on his chocolate-brown pinstripe suit.)
After that, we went to the Bywater neighborhood to see Davis Rogan and his band play a set at a wine lounge.
Topped it all off with a stroll down Bourbon Street, where rowdy tourists go to vomit.
Fascinating town, New Orleans.