Davis McAlary

Treme: Right Place, Wrong Time

“When you look at a city, it’s like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it.” Hugh Newell Jacobsen

Of course what Mr. Jacobsen forgets is that a city is an impolite and imperfect marriage of those aspirations. Who does the city belong to and who owns its cultural heritage, episode three of HBO’s Treme asks. Davis McAlary assumes it belongs to him and the musicians of Treme. That no military police can tell him how to act in front of his house and that his rich white neighbors can’t possibly understand the specific history of the neighborhood and even invokes Trombone Shorty’s name in the discussion.*

*Funny moment: Early in the episode Davis, whom is white, unemployed, a part-time musician and a longtime music snob – i.e. a HIPSTER – is railing against gentrification when it’s an older gay couple, whom he’s (wrongly) assumed have no ties to the area. Later on he’s inspired to sing proudly about the group of strippers that have moved into the neighborhood and even uses the line, “You can call it gentrification, but I call it good!”

The musicians on the other hand, have their own ideas about their place in New Orleans. Delmond Lambreaux suggests that while New Orleans loves its music, it doesn’t have nearly as much love for its musicians and almost begs Trombone Shorty to leave the city for greener pastures in New York or Europe. Even the famous Dr. John, during rehearsals for a benefit at Lincoln Center worries that he’ll be criticized for not presenting the Mardi Gras Indian songs with enough “respect”.

READ ON for more on episode three of HBO’s Treme…

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