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
Oct162012

How a Little Bit of Soul Train Became Part of Mardi Gras Practice

By Lolis Eric Elie

We’ve often seen Big Chief Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters) leading Indian practices. Watching those scenes, you get some sense of what it feels like to be in the room when those events are taking place. Every Sunday between New Year’s and Mardi Gras (and sometimes even before), Mardi Gras Indian tribes gather at whatever neighborhood bar they have chosen as their headquarters and perform the songs and dances that are central to their tradition. Community members and other spectators fill out the crowd, often joining in the chanting, but never in the dancing. That is reserved for Indians only.

But Mardi Gras Indian practice, like the term "Mardi Gras Indians," is not easy to understand. The component words are simple enough. But the tradition doesn’t quite fit into the realm of more familiar regimens like football practice or band practice.

I talked to two Mardi Gras Indian chiefs about this tradition to get their insights. Howard Miller is a chief with the oldest Mardi Gras Indian gang, the Creole Wild West. He appears in two episodes this season, "The Greatest Love" and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say." I also talked to Big Chief Tyrone Casby of the Mohawk Hunters, the only Mardi Gras Indian gang based on the west bank of New Orleans.

Chief Howard:

It is a spiritual gathering. Like church or something like that. In the beginning it was a closed thing. It was done in the backyards and the kitchens of some people’s houses. And it really was a practice. It was about you learning what you were supposed to do when you were out there on the street. Everybody out there has a position. And every position has a role that they must play. This is what practice was for, to explain the role you were supposed to play.

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Friday
Oct122012

Interview With Sharon Martin

By Lolis Eric Elie

Mild-mannered public administrator by day, sultry blues singer by night, Sharon Martin is one of the many New Orleans treasures that few music fans outside the city have heard. Gigi’s is her kind of place and, as you will see in Sunday's episode, she brings the house down.

To give you a little background on this firecracker of a singer, I did a little Q&A with her recently.

How long have you been singing professionally?  

Sharon Martin: Well, they tell me I'm a late starter. I was about 32 years old when I decided to jump out there singing with (guitarist) Carl LeBlanc. So, as of this day, I've been singing professionally since 1989 or 1990. I really can't remember, but for sure it's around 25 years or so. I got paid $50 per gig my first gigs.

What singers have influenced you? How would you describe the range of the music you perform?

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Wednesday
Oct102012

Chris Hannah's Flask-Ready Rebennack Cocktail

In this week's episode, Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) unveils his latest plan: A tribute to classic R&B artists. Where better to make the announcement than Arnaud’s French 75, a classic French Quarter bar in a classic old-line, Creole restaurant? That’s where Chris Hannah holds forth. He’s a prince among New Orleans bartenders, knowledgeable, personable and professional. We will have three of his recipes in the upcoming 'Treme' cookbook, but when Chris told me about the Rebennack cocktail, I knew we had to feature it here. It’s named for Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, a frequently featured performer on 'Treme.'

As we talked across the bar, Chris told me about another connection he has to our show, through Clarke Peters (Big Chief Albert Lambreaux).

The Rebennack was originally a cocktail I'd make for my flask to take out on the town. During Mardi Gras of 2010 I happened to be carrying this flask cocktail at Krewe De Vieux. Dr. John was King of Krewe de Vieux that year and I was excited to run up to him and yell, "throw me something, Mister!" When I did, I was like a kid ... things stood still; he looked down and threw me a cup. I took a sip from the flask after he went by and decided to name the concoction the "Rebennack" and serve it to guests at my bar. Two years later it was in the Wall Street Journal.

I lived in Baltimore during 'The Wire,' 1999 thru 2003. I loved 'The Wire,' and loved seeing the characters hanging around the city while they were filming. Then I moved to New Orleans—well, I lived through the hurricane and came back to New Orleans. One night I happened to be working the 'Treme' premiere party and I was able to talk to Clarke Peters, who starred as Lester Freamon on 'The Wire.' I walked up to him and told him I had lived 'The Wire,' from '99 to '03 and loved it. Those were the roughest years for Baltimore and that’s why 'The Wire' existed. I mentioned I moved to New Orleans—and then we had Hurricane Katrina. I thought he'd like the correlation of why and how we had been hanging out in the same cities over the past 10 years. I could tell he did, because after shaking my hand he said, "So you're the guy? Hey, do me a favor: Move to Hawaii."