Lyndsey Beaulieu was born and raised in New Orleans but moved away to attend the University of Virginia. After college she lived in Los Angeles where she became part of the HBO family as an assistant at the HBO offices, then as a Writers' Assistant on ‘Big Love.’ She has been with ‘Treme’ since the pilot and currently works as the Writers' Office Coordinator.

 

Tuesday
Dec312013

Goodbye With a Side of Calas

By Lolis Eric Elie

We could go on telling stories about New Orleans and its culture, our characters and their foibles, for years to come. But you know what they say about all good things… 

In New Orleans, we are rather famous for our funeral tradition of leaving the body behind in the graveyard while the living dance their way back, proof that life goes on, even after death. Think of this then, as a jazz funeral. A chance to remember Davis McAlary and his series of second chances at WWOZ. A chance to remember Antoine Batiste and his difficulties finding cab fare. Think of Janette Desautel and her struggles to get the food and business parts of her restaurant in sync. Of Toni Bernette, her noble causes and insatiable will to fight the good fight. Of Big Chief Lambreaux, the beauty of his suits and the iron of his will. And even ol’ Creighton Bernette who, before exiting too soon, left us with colorful rants about this insane world and the inmates in charge of it. 

Pull those memories out and dance them around the room, all the while hearing Delmond Lambreaux’s trumpet or Annie T’s violin or Sonny’s guitar playing just for you. 

One of the things we tried to do with ‘Treme’ was celebrate some of the kings and queens of New Orleans rhythm and blues, musicians whose contributions have too often been forgotten. Much like those musicians, there’s a traditional New Orleans dish that almost fell into obscurity: The calas, a rice fritter traditionally sold on the streets by black women, enslaved and free, for generations. As street vendors gave way to restaurants, the calas died away. 

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Monday
Dec302013

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

By Lyndsey Beaulieu


When it came time to edit and proofread scripts in the Writers’ Office, our Script Coordinator used to make us play a fun little game: guess the title of the episode. Titles were always taken from the songs that appeared in the episode, an appropriate device for a show like ‘Treme’ which so painstakingly honors the music. The title was always writer’s choice and usually reflected some sentiment conveyed in that week’s story. If we were right in our guess, the reward was knowing that we were on the same page with the writer. Other times it wasn’t nearly so precious; they simply chose a song they liked. For the series finale, “... To Miss New Orleans,” I have to believe the thinking went another step further.

David Simon and the writers on ‘Treme’ aren’t usually fans of wrapping things up in a neat little bow. Their tendency is to provoke thought, often leaving the audience with more questions than answers. “…To Miss New Orleans” achieves that. It gives us the sense of satisfaction of having come full circle, and it completes a statement while begging a question -- all at the same time. The title of the pilot episode was, “Do You Know What It Means…” and the name of the finale finishes what the ellipses left off. I wonder if the guys knew all along that they would end this way? I never saw it coming -- not even in our guessing games -- but it makes sense if they did. I don’t think there is a more perfect song to encapsulate all that ‘Treme’ captured and all that is New Orleans:

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans / And miss it each night and day / I know I’m not wrong, the feeling’s getting stronger / The longer I stay away

It’s John Boutte who so sweetly croons this rendition at the end of the finale, the very same voice behind the show’s catchy opening tune, “Treme Song.” 

Having lived away for many years before finally coming home, I absolutely, without a doubt, understand the question. How ‘bout you? Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?   

Saturday
Dec282013

Oatmeal and Fresh Berry Parfaits

By Lolis Eric Elie

I can hear the argument now. “New Orleans food is all fried and fattening. I want something healthy.” 

I won’t try to argue the point, except to say the reputation of Creole cuisine suffers from the same ailments as other regional American cuisines. Enthusiastic cooks and amateur chefs tend to exaggerate the dishes, adding as much meat, hot sauce and fat as possible to make them “authentic.” They lose sight of the fact that, in the days when these dishes were being developed, meat was a lot more expensive and rare than it is today. Another ham hock does not a better pot of beans make.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on that point, so I’ll compromise. I’ll give you a recipe from ‘Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans’ that, while not exactly Creole, is something you might find on a Sunday brunch menu in New Orleans. In fact, a version of it once appeared on the menu of the Palace Cafe.  

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Oatmeal Parfait. 

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