Other people’s prose:
"New Orleans" is the Big Easy that the tourists go to so they can drink themselves into a stupor on Bourbon Street and connect themselves to a prefab sense of the city's character, which is built on a series of stereotypes -- most of which are self-perpetuated.
At the same time, the real New Orleans and Katrina belong on that blog "Stuff White People Like" because both continually attract a kind of seeker, from Brad Pitt's green rebuilding effort to writer Dave Eggers's "Zeitoun," and on down -- well-meaning people who want to bring their special understanding for the city's tastes, sounds and people.
It's fascinating to watch "Treme" skirt both the drunk's indifference and the intellectual's arrogance. What results in the first three episodes is a much fuller celebration of place and soul; everything you're initially going to remember about the series is the music, but do stick around for the stories. I say all this as someone who lived in New Orleans for four years, in college, and came away with only an infinitesimal (and youthful) understanding of its complexities. Like most visitors, I let the bon temps rouler right off into meaninglessness. All I ever knew for sure about New Orleans was that it was doomed.