Thursday, May 6, 2010

"treh-MAY" - Episode #4: "At the Foot of Canal Street"

(All photos/general information can be found @ or Wikipedia.)

Here are just some of the highlights from Episode #4: "At the Foot of Canal Street":

Antoine (Wendell Pierce) has stitches in his lip from his recent encounter with two overly aggressive police officers (see "Episode 3"). He waits to be seen and treated at one of the few ERs open in the area. Frustrated over their lack of attention and care, Antoine begins to sing "St. James Infirmary Blues"--made famous by Louis Armstrong, but he adds his own flare to it and reworks some of the lyrics.

When he finally leaves the ER, Antoine's stitches have been taken out and he blows through his mouthpiece to see if he can still play his trombone. A little boy who stares at Antoine starts to laugh uncontrollably at him. Antoine stares back. When the boy walks off, Antoine kicks high and out into the air as though he were kicking the boy (hard) in his backside.

Later at Gigi's Lounge, Antoine is being served a heaping plate of red beans and rice from his ex-wife, LaDonna (Khandi Alexander). But for Antoine, that's not the only dish on the menu! As LaDonna turns around and bends over, Antoine is ogling her every move. When she turns around and notices him staring at her, LaDonna immediately gives him a look like, "You better stop." (Although, I think she's secretly flattered by the attention.)

While Antoine and LaDonna are talking, an incredible song, "Just a Little Overcome," is playing in the background by Ollie & the Nightingales. This amazingly talented yet unknown group prompts Antoine to discuss his own fears of not being able to play again and become known. He was told at the ER that he has dental problems. LaDonna suggests that Antoine go to Baton Rouge to not only see Larry, her dentist husband, but to also spend time with his two sons. Obviously not thrilled by the idea of being treated by LaDonna's new husband, Antoine realizes that he doesn't have other options and decides to go.

When Antoine arrives, you can't help but notice the difference between Baton Rouge, filled with chain stores and restaurants, and New Orleans, still picking up the pieces. He brings with him gifts for the boys (LaDonna helps him out with that) and although they're not thrilled with their gifts, they are happy to see him--in their own way. There's a wonderful moment when he turns to them and says, "You're always in my heart," while hitting his chest. It's a side of Antoine that we haven't seen--the role of father. He's not able to provide for his kids the way that LaDonna and Larry can (and have), but he does love his sons very much--and they love him.

Delmond Lambreaux (Rob Brown) and his girlfriend Jill, a journalist, are walking through Battery Park while playing the game "Monogamy with Exceptions." He gives Jill his "hit list": Beyonce, Gabrielle Union and Janet [Jackson]. She immediately calls him shallow for his choices and then proceeds to list her three "exceptions": former Yankee Bernie Williams, gay playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, and the incomparable McCoy Tyner, one of the original members of the John Coltrane Quartet and a phenomenally gifted jazz pianist in his own right. While unimpressed with Jill's choices, Jill in turn questions Delmond's ability to remain monogamous. Later on, at a party filled with artists and writers (including Tyner and Williams), Delmond realizes that Jill tricked him: "You set me up," he immediately says to her while laughing.

Toni (Melissa Leo) doesn't have any luck in finding Antoine's trombone, but she does manage to get the DNA results from the police for the "David Brooks" they have in custody. His real name is Keevon White. Keevon's about to go on trial for murder, which he explains to LaDonna and her mother, is partly the reason why he switched ID bracelets. As he describes the conditions they suffered--being treated like cage animals, having to fight over "moldy sandwiches" being thrown at them by the guards--during Katrina, it's beyond horrible to hear. For the first time, we also learn more about who the real David "Daymo" Brooks truly is and according to Keevon, Daymo isn't cut out for prison life.

You can find the music from this episode right here:

Speaking of the music featured in Treme, we were really given a treat this week from the likes of the New Birth Brass Band, The Jazz Vipers, and the AMAAAAAZIIING John Boutté.

Boutté's voice holds a tinge of inspiration from Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, but it's full of other flavors, a melting pot if you will, just like New Orleans itself!

Next week on Episode #5: "Shame, Shame, Shame": As the city celebrates the return of many displaced residents with another second line parade, Albert presses a Councilman to reopen housing projects and Davis recruits some local musicians to put out a campaign CD.