If you haven’t seen the excellent Treme yet (which is very likely if you’re reading this in New Zealand, as it hasn’t screened on NZ TV channels yet), you’re missing out.
While it’s no Wire (yet), it has its own special merits, not the least of which is the devoted treatment given to the music of New Orleans.
Aside from the fabulous live scenes (which feature bona fide N'Orleans legends such as Dr John, Kermit Ruffins, Allan Toussaint and, erm, Elvis Costello), one of the elements I found most intriguing in Treme is the Mardi Gras Indians storyline (featuring Lester Freamon, who played Clarke Peters in The Wire).
The institution of the Mardi Gras Indians is a fascinating tradition that most whiteys (especially whiteys on the other side of the world who have never been to New Orleans) probably know little about, at least until Treme showcased it to the world.
Because I am one of those whiteys on the other side of the world who have never been to New Orleans, it’s not my place to try to explain it – you can read about it here from those who actually live it. But I can point you in the direction of some wonderful Indian music that makes even more sense now I know the history behind it. Enjoy.