Deconstructing the Season 2 Finale of 'Treme' with Coco Robicheaux and Mike Kimmel
by Jeremy Ford
As Season 2 of 'Treme' came to an end Sunday night, NoDef once again went to Buffa's to talk with local characters who were in the show.
Season two of Treme came to an end Sunday night with the episode, “Do Whatcha Wanna.” A depicted culmination of the trials New Orleans residents experienced in 2007 as they tried to acclamate themselves back to the city, the season finale gave Treme viewers a bit of closure and a little to look forward to in Season 3.
Signs of the city coming back laced the episode: the return of the streetcar, the excitement surrounding Jazz Fest, the Rebirth Brass Band tearing up the Maple Leaf with two foot-shattering, energized performances.
The Treme cast was greeted with some positive prospects for the future that left viewers excited for the next season: Janette’s Sous-Chef, Jacques, is released from prison, and she is later offered an opportunity to return to New Orleans and open her own restaurant. Larry tells LaDonna that they are not selling the bar and are moving back to New Orleans. Davis implies he is moving on from his band, the Brassy Knoll, and closes the episode filling in at WWOZ. And Antoine becomes increasingly influential in mentoring his protégé, Robert, when he brings him and his band to busk on Frenchmen Street.
As they have done all season, Buffa’s Restaurant and Lounge hosted a packed house at Sunday’s Treme Screening Party. At the party, NoDef caught up with two members of the Treme cast at the party, bluesmith Coco Robicheaux, and actor Mike Kimmel.
Another member of the Treme cast, Mike Kimmel, also enjoyed the Buffa’s back room. Mike Kimmel made his debut on the show this week, Kimmel made his first appearance on the show in this week’s episode as the ballistics examiner who Lt. Colson consulted.
(On working with the show) “The show is terrific. I’ve always been a big fan of David Morse. It was a real thrill to have a scene with him."
(On moving to New Orleans) "I just moved down here to New Orleans. It’s a fun place to be. I always wanted to live here. As soon as I moved down here, I auditioned for the show about a week later, and a week after that, I got the part. It felt like a welcome to New Orleans. It’s good to be in an artistic environment where people are really committed to seeing projects happen: music projects, art projects, film projects, it’s a nice little mix. You throw it in the pot and boil it up."
(On shooting the scene he was in) We filmed at a real ballistics lab on the Westbank. It was real good, everybody was super professional. It’s interesting, if you work on movies and TV, especially this show, you’d be amazed at how fast they move, and how on the ball the whole crew is. Sometimes on a movie, they might do two or three pages of the script a day; on a TV show, they might do seven pages. It’s a lot of set ups, multiple locations. It’s pretty amazing.
My title was officially called the ballistics examiner. It was fun. They might give me a name, who knows. I figure with all the shootings that take place on this show, they can be looking at some other bullets. As long as the ballistics examiner doesn’t get locked up or fired, maybe I’ll be there the next time someone gets shot.
(On filming in New Orleans) Treme and Memphis Beat are the two TV shows they shoot in New Orleans now, and hopefully we’ll get some more. It’s a good place to be, and it’s great that the state is so receptive to bringing in productions. Not all the sates have been able to keep it flowing year after year like Louisiana. People are very receptive here. I feel like in New Orleans, when they see somebody filming, they’re like, ‘Oh, its cool, they’re filming a movie. Oh, great they’re filming Treme here.’ They don’t look at it as an inconvenience, they look at it as something that’s fun and boosts up the economy.”
Robicheaux warmed up the crowd with some standbys, and then closed out the season two screening party series with songs like “Cottonmouth” and “Spiritland.” A standby of the New Orleans scene, Robicheaux was a natural choice to appear on Treme, as he has done throughout the series.
“I tell ya, they’re some of the nicest people I ever worked with. I’ve worked on a lot different movies and TV shows, and they’re the nicest people I ever met. They even let me drink one time, and I know that’s a big no no. We were filming so long one time at Apple Barrel and I said, ‘Man, I don’t really need any, but I sure would like one.’ And then they called me back, so I knew it was alright. Beautiful people. I think it’s done such good stuff for the city and the people.”
He later comically said, “I play myself, and I had to audition to play myself. That was very daunting.”
Robicheaux expressed surprise that the show hasn't been as well accepted in critical circles as it has with New Orleans viewers.
“I can’t believe it’s (Treme) not taken off with the Emmys. There is this little coffee place I go to. They got Entertainment Today or something like that. They got everything in there. Nothing about Treme. I can’t understand that because it’s so real and so true. What are they doing?”
When I was younger, I used to watch shows from New York, and I didn’t get it. They were extremely popular, but I didn’t get it.” He then added, “This I get,” acknowledging the replay of the season finale as it played in the background.
He also talked about his own experience coming back after the storm.
“Fucking hell, man. That shit is still etched in my memory. I came back the day after Hurricane Katrina. I went over to Texas, and they wouldn’t let me in (the shelter) because I had alcohol on my breath. I said, fuck it, I’m going back to New Orleans, man.”