I was lucky enough to talk with the folks at the HBO series Treme who are putting on an incredible event Saturday night, the “My Darlin’ New Orleans” fundraiser. Here’s Part II of our conversation. Click here to read yesterday’s post, and come back tomorrow for Part III.
Gambit: Tell Gambit readers about your fundraising efforts so far.
David Simon, Co-Creator/Executive Producer: The first year's auction raised about $90,000 for the non-profits and last year, we topped $100,000. Other individual donations by producers and the production put the total raised so far to about $250,000. We hope to raise even more this year, when in addition to the auction, we are also trying to stage a culinary event for charity as well as a Treme vs. The Wire battle of the bands, featuring two local renowned bands and a couple notable acts from the Washington-Baltimore axis that were featured in The Wire, specifically Galactic and the Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans and jazz-funkmaster Lafayette Gilchrist and his band from Baltimore and the Backyard Band from D.C., one of that city's preeminent go-go outfits.
Gambit: Why is it so important to support organizations like the ones you have chosen as beneficiaries from this event?
Simon: Because they support the extraordinary culture of New Orleans, which — let's face it — proved to be the only functional civic resource in the city's hour of need. Political leadership, the investment community, disaster capitalism, law enforcement and education in New Orleans have all struggled mightily since Katrina, and in many ways and at many critical moments, institutional New Orleans has disappointed. But the culture? That's what has brought the city back. The culture is the engine that sustains this city.
Gambit: Back to Treme: Who’s your favorite character on the show (besides yourself)?
Wendell Pierce, “Antoine Batiste”: Chief Lambreaux reminds me of all the men that were father figures to me, including my own father. They are pillars of the community that the media never covers.
Gambit: Have any of the scenes struck a personal chord with you, more than others?
Pierce: The "Indian Red" scene in the Lower 9th Ward when Lambreaux is paying homage to the body of his Wild Man and is interrupted by a tour. I weep every time.
Check out the final portion of this interview tomorrow!