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.

 

Entries in Lyndsey Beaulieu (11)

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?   

Thursday
Dec262013

McAlary’s Music Mission on Rampart St.

By Lyndsey Beaulieu

In this week’s episode, “Sunset on Louisianne,” the music career of DJ Davis (Steve Zahn) is thwarted yet again when his band of Educated Fools arrives at Caledonia’s for a gig -- only to find it closed for business. The club may be fictional, but that some of the best music clubs on N. Rampart St. were shut down following Hurricane Katrina is not.

The long revered stretch of N. Rampart St. between Canal St. and Esplanade Ave. was a hotspot for authentic New Orleans music, with the Funky Butt (714 N. Rampart), and Donna’s Bar and Grill (800 N. Rampart St.), at its center. The Funky Butt, operated by Sam Williams of Big Sam’s Funky Nation and his wife, Shanekah Williams, was hands-down one of the best places in town to hear live music. But like so many of the dive bars in the area, the Funky Butt was in such a state of disrepair that it was forced to close just before Katrina. After the storm, a New Orleans businessman attempted to bring the Funky Butt back to greatness, but city politics and re-zoning put a fast stop to the plan. Between the residents of the Vieux Carre and City Hall, there was virtually no support for the once-venerable club’s reopening.

Donna’s Bar and Grill was the last mainstay to go, closing its doors in 2010. For over 20 years, Monday nights at Donna’s were legendary; a rite of passage where musicians came to see other musicians jam until the wee hours of the morning. Also legendary were the red beans and rice and barbecue chicken served by its proprietors, husband and wife team Donna Poniatowski and Charlie Sims. But like the Funky Butt, extensive damage and dilapidation eventually did them in, effectively ending the era of live music on N. Rampart St.

Music legends were also born on N. Rampart St., at the historic J&M studios, which is now a laundromat. Legends like Fats Domino, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Lloyd Price and Jerry Lee Lewis put some of their biggest hits on wax at 838-840 N. Rampart St.

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Monday
Dec232013

The Henry Glover Case, Then and Now

By Lyndsey Beaulieu

In this week’s episode, reporter L.P. Everett (Chris Coy) returns to New Orleans to find that the Feds are finally starting to take notice of the work he did on the Henry Glover case. Everett sits with Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo) and tells her almost gleefully, “They’re going after all of it now. Danziger. Glover.”

Everett is referring to two of the most notorious cases of alleged police misconduct that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: The Danziger bridge shootings, where five officers were accused of shooting and killing unarmed civilians; and the Henry Glover case, in which officers were accused of shooting and killing the Algiers resident and orchestrating an intricate cover-up that included burning his body. All five officers involved in the Danziger case were convicted and given lengthy sentences. As for the Glover case, three officers were convicted: two for obstructing justice and falsifying police reports, and the third, former officer David Warren, for manslaughter.

Convictions in both cases were then overturned. In the Danziger case, a federal judge granted all five officers a retrial due to “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct.” Those new trials are slated to begin next year. In the case of Henry Glover, a federal judge ordered that Warren, the officer accused of pulling the trigger, be granted a new trial separate from the officers on the grounds that the shooting was a stand-alone event and should be tried as such.

Just this week, Warren was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges after the jury ruled he was justified in shooting Henry Glover. Once sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, David Warren is now a free man. In the fictional realm of ‘Treme,’ Everett is hopeful for real justice in both cases. In reality, the idea of justice has been questionable at best.

I recently spoke with the real L.P. Everett, ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who wrote the original article chronicling the chain of events surrounding the Glover shooting. As someone who has reported on police-involved shootings for over 15 years, Thompson wasn’t particularly surprised by the not guilty verdict.

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