The Tales of New Orleans after Katrina: the Interstices of Fact and Fiction in Treme
Abstract: Focusing on the months that followed Katrina and the breach of the levees in New Orleans, the first two seasons of HBO series Treme (2010, 2011) plumb the interstices between fact and fiction, thereby testifying to the confusion that prevailed after the storm. The series derives entertainment from the disruptions engendered by the floods, which create enigmas and knowledge holes in the narrative, dramatising the characters’ individual life stories. From melodrama to docudrama to crime fiction, the series pulls together various generic modes that enhance the impact of Katrina on the local community. While many episodes are devoted to celebrating the resilience fostered by the musical creativity that characterises New Orleans cultural life, this article argues that the focus on music as spectacle downplays the political significance of the events the series retraces.