June 7th, 2010
04:41 PM ET
After a two-week hiatus filled with news of the latest tragedy in the gulf region - the oil spill - "Treme" fans returned to New Orleans last night for Mardi Gras 2006.
It was a locals-only affair in this eighth episode, with evacuees trickling back to share in the pared-down celebrations. "I'm home for Mardi Gras baby," an evacuee tearfully told Sonny and Annie. "Home for Mardi Gras."
Professor Longhair's "Go to the Mardi Gras" provides the soundtrack as the characters try their best to let the good times roll. King cakes provide a sugar rush - and for Antoine Batiste, a lucky baby - as the episode unfolds.
Batiste dubs Jameson and Coke "a Mardi Gras drink," proving that anything with alcohol is a Mardi Gras drink. Mrs. Brooks, unaware of her son's death, cuts celery for her gumbo's holy trinity (onions, bell peppers and celery), the vegetable backbone of the dish.
When Fat Tuesday rolls around, Batiste takes to the streets for what is arguably the world's biggest barbecue. Mardi Gras morning is defined by the smells of barbecue chicken and flaming charcoal at 7 a.m.
LaDonna and her family camp out for the Zulu parade, the city's largest African American procession, while uptown, Janette DeSautel has her temporary rig set up selling crawfish beignets and gumbo. Her sometimes-man Davis is hanging at his parents' home, where many a McAlary is sipping on a "bloody" before the Rex krewe rolls down St. Charles Avenue.
Delmond Lambreaux is in the French Quarter with jazz musicians Terence Blanchard and Cassandra Wilson, while he tries to figure out what to do about his father, Albert, who is stuck in jail this Mardi Gras after punching a cop.
Davis, dressed as John Lafitte, bumps into Annie, who's been ditched by Sonny for the day. Davis and Annie embark on an adventure that includes beignets and a nod to the defunct FOX TV show "K-Ville" as they head to "Treme" writer Lolis Eric Elie's house for gumbo.
"He's having a gumbo party?" Annie asks Davis, who responds "Yeah, we really don't call it that here."
As previously noted, "K-Ville" used the term gumbo party, and good-humored locals made it a point to have “gumbo parties” while watching the TV show.
Everyone is eating gumbo in this "Treme" episode, from the Bernettes to the Brooks to Davis and Annie, but a good roux can't stop the melancholy Creighton Bernette is feeling.
"New Orleans was a soap bubble. A soap bubble born on a zephyr, and it had a hell of run," he tells his YouTube audience. "But now it's done. Whatever comes next is just a dream of what used to be."
Let's hope Lent puts a smile on his face.
Here's a guide to the local products and restaurants in episode eight of "Treme":
Donna's Bar and Grill: This North Rampart haunt is a favorite for brass-band fans.
The Howlin’ Wolf: This Warehouse District club has been around in one incarnation or another since 1988. Some of the Neville family play here with Antoine Batiste for the Mardi Gras episode.
The Praline Connection: The Frenchman Street restaurant where Delmond Lambreaux has lunch while trying to figure out what to do about his incarcerated Mardi Gras Indian father, Albert.
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