Treme regularly features New Orleans’ clubs and musicians. // © 2011 HBO/Paul Schiraldi
New Orleans residents religiously watch the HBO series “Treme,” not only for its storyline of post-Katrina recovery and the city’s stalwart attitude about preserving its culture, but also for the locations. “Treme,” which has been shot almost exclusively in New Orleans, showcases the city’s clubs, attractions, street scenes and resident musicians.
For visitors looking to recognize a few screen scenes, here is a rundown of New Orleans, as seen on “Treme.”
Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins (playing himself in both seasons of “Treme”) performs Thursday nights at Vaughan’s, located at 800 Lesseps St. in the neighborhood known as Bywater. Get there early because the club packs them in, especially now that the show has become more popular. Free red beans and rice and gumbo are offered at midnight.
The show’s musicians routinely perform along Frenchmen Street, just outside the official boundaries of the French Quarter. Snug Harbor, at 626 Frenchmen St., is a modern jazz club and a favorite for the show’s Delmond Lambreaux, the jazz trumpeter who lives in New York. The Apple Barrel, at 609 Frenchmen St., is a small, but popular, space and The Spotted Cat, at 623 Frenchmen St., is also widely used in the series.
Tipitina’s, at 501 Napoleon Ave. in uptown (up referring to upriver) New Orleans, is one of the city’s most famous clubs and features a wide variety of musical styles. The Pine Leaf Boys of Lafayette and the show’s fictional bands used Tipitina’s as a location.
The Maple Street Bar, at 8316 Oak St. further uptown, is also a local favorite and a regular spot for the Rebirth Brass Band who has appeared on the show.
New Orleans chef Susan Spicer is the inspiration for the chef character Janette Desautel, played by Kim Dickens. Spicer is also a consultant on the show and makes cameo appearances. Visitors to her Bayona restaurant, located at 430 Dauphine St. in the French Quarter, will sample similar cuisine, since Spicer created many of the dishes on “Treme.”
Dooky Chase, found at 2301 Orleans Ave., is a restaurant owned by Chef Leah Chase and a New Orleans culinary landmark. Prominent African Americans gathered at her restaurant during the Civil Rights era and her walls are chock-full of African American art. The restaurant reopened after Katrina on a Holy Thursday and served up its traditional fried chicken and gumbo z’herbes — an event that is reenacted in this season’s “Treme.”
Lil’ Dizzy’s, at 1500 Esplanade, is in the heart of the Treme neighborhood and a favorite local spot for Creole and soul food plate lunch specials.
Bacchanal, at 600 Poland Ave., sells wines by the bottle and glass and offers space for live music. Bacchanal is a regular shooting location for “Treme,” which spotlights the spot’s exposed-brick walls as well as its romantic courtyard.
Liuzza’s by the Track, located at 1518 N. Lopez St., was a favorite location for actor John Goodman in “Treme.” The neighborhood eatery serves the city’s famous Po Boy sandwiches and gumbo.
To learn more about the Mardi Gras Indians portrayed on the show, a visit to The Backstreet Cultural Museum, found at 1116 St. Claude Ave. in the neighborhood of Treme, is a must. The non-profit organization displays numerous costumes and accessories related to the African American traditions of Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, social aid and pleasure clubs and more. The museum also houses documentation of these regular events and hosts music and dance performances.
As for the countless jazz funerals and second line parades, these are common occurrences in New Orleans. Visitors should keep their eyes open for these unique traditions held nowhere else in the world, but also remember that they are actual funeral processions and should be respected as such.