December 27, 2009 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans premieres Thursday, January 29 on PBS. Faubourg Tremé is considered the oldest black neighborhood in America, the origin of the southern civil rights movement and the birthplace of jazz. Trailer for Faubourg Tremé
posted by nola (14 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Dammit, no PBS in Tokyo...

...anyone wanna tape this and upload it somewhere and send me a lil' ol' linky-pie, well, I'd be more than obliged...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:15 PM on December 27, 2009

I don't have cable so I'm also trying to figure out how to watch it flapjax. I'm hoping it will be online soon. If not maybe it can be rented?
posted by nola at 7:26 PM on December 27, 2009

Here's the official site. It's a terrific movie -- and I don't just say that because I'm friends with Dawn & Lucie.
posted by muckster at 7:29 PM on December 27, 2009

And speaking of Tokyo: In the days when I would spend months in Japan, or months in Scandanavia, I would become homesick for the country I hated: America.

Actually, I hated, and still hate, America's corporate government. The giant war-making organization to whom I am forced to pay taxes. (I get to vote on whether or not my few extra tax dollars can be spent on teachers, firefighters, and the police force.)

But MAN, did I miss living in a culture of blacks, whites, west hemisphere people, and folks from just about everyfuckingwhere.

This looks like a movie about one facet of an America which is beautiful, and which too many white suburbanites will live and die without knowing about.
posted by kozad at 8:04 PM on December 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Those familiar with the Tremé, or New Orleans in general, might look forward to Treme, an upcoming HBO TV series set in the Tremé, created by David Simon (also creator of The Wire), and set to air sometime in 2010.
posted by Hoenikker at 8:18 PM on December 27, 2009

Today, you can't walk around the Treme at night, and in daytime it isn't much better.

One friend lived there for less than a year; her house was broken into 5 times.

She lives in Los Angeles now, and will probably watch this with sadness.
posted by four panels at 8:48 PM on December 27, 2009

Actually, I hated, and still hate, America's corporate government. ... But MAN, did I miss living in a culture of blacks, whites, west hemisphere people, and folks from just about everyfuckingwhere.

You will probably feel waves of nostalgia watching this documentary: Welcome to New Orleans
posted by shii at 12:35 AM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

this was in central city, not treme, but it goes to the culture ...

back in march 2007, the good, the bad, and the queen played a gig in new orleans. for reasons that are too complicated and boring to go into here, i was the unofficial new orleans ambassador for the band. the band's tentative plan had been to visit preservation hall for a matinee to absorb some genuine new orleans music. however, their visit happened to coincide with super sunday, which has *nothing* to do with football & everything to do with black culture in new orleans.

i had a flurry of phone calls with the tour manager, trying to explain exactly what super sunday is & how rare it is for 'outsiders' to get to see it. the main concern was the safety of the band members. the tour manager finally handed the phone to the bodyguard, and i told him, 'look; it's a family event. it's not the type of event your family or my family throws, but it's a family thing and if you respect that, there won't be any problems.' the bodyguard warily agreed to let the band attend.

so i showed up in my rented 15-passenger cargo van and with a second car to handle the overflow (there were 20 people, including tour manager, string section, body guard, and photographer pennie smith). hasty introductions were made, with 3 of the 4 band members holding their heads because they'd partied a little too much the night before. everybody loaded into the van & i started to sweat because i didn't know if i could even find the indians. this was the trickiest part of the entire day, because super sunday is a very mobile event--the mardi gras indians are notorious for deviating from set routes.

as luck would have it, i was able to find the parade without any problem, & got a convenient parking place to boot. everyone piled out of the van, and that's when the bodyguard's fun began. while super sunday parades don't rival mardi gras crowds, there were still thousands of people milling about the very mobile route. my visitors initially took tentative steps toward the crowds, except for the one un-hungover member, tony allen; allen had his camera ready and was all over that route. the rest of the entourage started to follow, and that was when everybody pretty much went in 20 different directions. i was keenly aware that if anything happened to anyone, i was the person who would go down in history as getting the band killed. so the bodyguard & i were trying to herd people into some kind of orderly mob but we were failing miserably. we finally gave up and hoped for the best.

i ran into a few people i knew as we meandered along, including a local drummer/photographer who wanted to chat. i pointed at tony allen & said, 'do you know who that is? that's tony allen.' the drummer/photographer IMMEDIATELY went into high gear. 'you have to introduce me. i have to meet him,' but i was too busy trying to keep my eyes on 20 people at once & tony was in the thick of it. sorry, zack.

at the end of an hour or so, it was time to round everyone up & head out for dinner so the band could make the soundcheck and the show. we were remarkably successful ... except for the string section. they'd been sucked into the crowd and were nowhere to be found. i made cell phone contact with the driver of the 2nd vehicle, told him we had to leave, and left him to round up the strings while i tried to calm down the bodyguard, who was also keenly aware that losing his charges would be bad for future business.

in the end, the string section was fine--even though we didn't see them again until sound check--the band and the bodyguard was thrilled with the experience, and no one had any problems with anyone along the route. my only regret is that i never got to see any of the pics tony allen and pennie smith were so avidly snapping.

i guess the moral of this story is that yeah, some of these areas can be sketchy. but these areas are also home to thousands of people. they might not be homes like yours or mine, but if you respect that, things will go much better for you.
posted by msconduct at 5:40 AM on December 28, 2009 [6 favorites]

Thanks for pointing this out. It isn't playing on my local PBS so I will have to search it out.
posted by readery at 5:56 AM on December 28, 2009

To me, New Orleans is the biggest cultural assest the US has given her contribution to Art (previous personal post) and the artistic world. Great food, great music, great post. New Orleans, I love you, even if I have to pay attention to everything at all times and step outside my white comfort zone.
posted by priested at 7:02 AM on December 28, 2009

This looks so good I'm willing to put up with the ubiquitous Wynton M. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 7:17 AM on December 28, 2009

My most memorable experience in the Treme: I was taking photographs of old churches and there was a Hollywood movie crew set up in the vacant lot at Rampart and Esplanade. There were about twenty New Orleans police officers doing security about the movie set. One block over and one block down there was a corner crack market going at full speed within eyesight of the cops. Every single person I have ever known who lived in the Treme was mugged at least once.
posted by bukvich at 8:43 AM on December 28, 2009

This was on last summer on KCTS here in Seattle--after watching it, I raved about it so much to a friend that he bought a copy online, and, after viewing it, bought me a copy for recommending it. Which was a good thing. It is well worth several viewings.

Not exactly a spoiler here but one thing that gives the documentary added power is that it was in production when Katrina hit New Orleans, the results of which--to the people and structures involved--adds a whole other level of poignancy.

Another touch is the neighborhood's historical role in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the so-called Separate but Equal doctrine of legal segregation.
posted by y2karl at 10:11 AM on December 28, 2009

If not maybe it can be rented?

I know it can be bought and I was told that it is on Netflix.
posted by y2karl at 10:13 AM on December 28, 2009

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