By Lolis Eric Elie
One of the stories we try to tell on 'Treme' is the role that culture plays in New Orleans' long recovery after the federal levee failures. With all the commemorative CDs and all-star performances, even people outside of the city are aware of how our music and musicians helped tell the New Orleans story and make the case for rebuilding.
In a similar way, our chefs re-dedicated themselves to demonstrating that New Orleans food is an emblem of this city. Our food is necessary for our identity; our city is the necessary nurturing space for our food.
Kim Dickens' character Janette Desautel is meant to embody much of that story. In the first season, a combination of infrastructure failures and mounting bills forced her to close her restaurant. She spent most of Season 2 in New York, working with real-life chefs David Chang and Eric Ripert, and with the fictional psychopath Enrico Brulard. Season 3 has seen her back in New Orleans in a new kind of restaurant hell. Throughout this turmoil, Kim Dickens has done an amazing job of conveying Desautel's hope and humor. I spoke to the actress recently about her role as Janette and her own restaurant background.