20 greatest works of fiction about New Orleans

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2. Treme

In the history of television, there are plenty of shows that have attempted to make New Orleans its central character. As we’ve learned already, putting a broad, complex concept such as a city on par with human characters is a tricky thing. A city is really made up of many different people, locations, and attitudes. It’s not as if you can sit down with a city and interview it, for instance. Instead, it often somewhat easier and definitely better to get a sense of a city by engaging with all of its aspects.

Like many other works on this list, the Treme series on HBO deals with the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. It’s garnered plenty of acclaim from critics. However, more meaningfully, the people of New Orleans have generally given it their own stamp of approval, with many saying that it finally reflects the city as it really is in modern times.

Treme follows a wide array of people trying to rebuild after the hurricane, including LaDonna Batiste-Williams, a tavern owner who holds onto her connection to the city even after her sons, ex-husband and current husband have moved to Baton Rouge.

There is, of course, a jazz musician in Delmond Lambreaux, himself the son of a well-known jazz trumpet player. Like many energetic young people, Delmond isn’t so sure that he wants to stay in the city of his birth, however.

The series also follows other musicians, a local university professor, a chef scrambling to keep her restaurant open and a Mardi Gras Indian chief who must live in a bar while repairing his home. That’s only scratching the surface, really, as Treme is bursting at the seams with its vibrant, complicated cast of characters.