By Lyndsey Beaulieu
If I had to venture a guess which city outside of New Orleans has the highest concentration of New Orleanians, it would be a toss up between Houston and Atlanta. Every weekend it seems like someone I know in either city is making plans to come home for a birthday, holiday, Bayou Classic, or just because it’s the weekend. And on the weekends they can’t get home, they make do the best way they can.
It’s Sunday night in Houston but this particular household feels like New Orleans. The smell coming from the kitchen is unmistakably red beans and rice; the beer lining the fridge is Abita Amber and Bud Light; and the din of chatter coming from the living room is loud and boisterous as everyone gathered waits patiently for the season premiere of ‘Treme’ -- television muted until show time. This is the home of my childhood best friend (we’ll call her “Dana” to protect the identity of a super fan). For her and her family, this has been the scene almost every Sunday night since the show first premiered, and rest assured it will be the scene this Sunday when the final season, Season 4 takes it’s bow. This is a “Treme” watch party, and for this group who share a common New Orleans connection, getting together to watch the show is just as much a tradition as going to mass on Sunday morning. As “Dana” so eloquently summed it up for me, this is like their support group, part of their “12-step process” to adjust to life away from the Big Easy. “Even though it’s been some years, we’re still in recovery from missing home. Getting together once a week to watch ‘Treme,’ that’s the best way to get our fix sometimes. It’s the next best thing to being there.”