Treme': Season 2, episode 2


In the weeks and months following Katrina, many New Orleanians fought their way back into the devastated, quarantined city with an almost blind ferocity. If you stayed and survived, or if you left for the storm and somehow managed to be one of the first to return, you were a true fighter - one of the few, the proud determined to set things right again. On "Treme," post-Katrina pioneers such as Big Chief Lambreaux, Janette, Ladonna and Toni spent episode after episode of the first season epically busting their asses all in the name of NOLA. Their efforts gained some momentum for individuals and the city, and in some cases yielded tangible results (Ladonna was finally able to close the book on Daymo; the Indians paraded on St. Joseph's night). But the effort was exhausting, leaving folks battered, bitter and, in some cases, hopeless.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the face and demeanor of the Big Chief. While he remains unfalteringly stubborn while contemplating his desperate financial situation ("I won't take money from my family"), he's lost the passion that originally defined him. And it's aged him significantly: the lines on his face seem deeper; he embodies a heavy slouch; and he moves with a slow, listless gait. Not even the promise of Del rejoining the Indians (or a delicious-looking fried turkey, for that matter) can seem to brighten the guy's day.

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