'Treme' explained: 'Shallow Water, Oh Mama'
May 16, 2010, 10:10PM
These weekly posts are intended as an episode-by-episode guide to the many unexplained New Orleans references in HBO’s “Treme.”
It contains spoilers – so beware, readers in western time zones and DVR watchers -- but also a lot of information and links that might help viewers of the series better understand the show’s characters and stories, as well as the city and time period in which it’s set.
The density of local references admittedly makes encyclopedic coverage an overwhelming task, so in-the-know readers are encouraged to supplement the weekly reports via “comments” submissions below the main post.
I’ll be expanding and correcting past posts as the season advances, so feel free to contribute observations and commentary.
Share your overall opinion about the episode itself here.
A comprehensive archive of the Times-Picayune’s Katrina coverage, including an animated map of the levee failures, is valuable background for “Treme” viewers.
In addition, these books, links, CDs, DVDs and streams might prove helpful.
The title of Sunday’s episode, “Shallow Water, Oh Mama,” is a traditional Mardi Gras Indian call-and-response chant first recorded in 1988 by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, according to this 2003 essay by John Sinclair.