It's a story about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. It contained two passing references to Houston: One, a mention of a guy getting killed "in one of those Telephone Road bars"; two, a character saying "all the crime moved to Houston."
Pretty innocuous stuff; Telephone Road isn't exactly murder central, but the name is irresistible.
Still, the Houston Chronicle, in the guise of an assistant features editor, has had its feelings hurt. Ronnie Crocker wrote in their pop-culture blog:
That's the only recognition Treme could muster for a city that took in perhaps 240,000 storm victims, many of whom arrived in buses with nothing but the clothes they were wearing?
Our area, according to my recollection, played a pivotal and overwhelmingly positive role in the Katrina story. Who couldn't have been impressed by the masses of volunteers who showed up at the Astrodome to feed and shelter the evacuees? Houstonians swamped clothing and furniture drives with so much that donations had to be halted....All I know for sure is that Houstonians can be proud of the role they played in the Katrina disaster and secure in the knowledge that, should the need ever arise, we would do it all over again.
To: David Simon
From: Houston Chronicle
Re: Proposed Treme episode
Please read and use the attached script for the second episode of Treme. We realize shooting and editing the episode in time for Sunday might require some extra hours, but we feel it is absolutely necessary. Not to mention the script is, if we say so ourself, damn good. Here's an outline.
Title: There Are Angels in Texas
Act One: The episode opens with a montage of Houstonians enjoying their city -- going to the museums, enjoying the white tigers at the Aquarium restaurant (or any other Tilman Fertitta establishment), cheering the Astros, listening to our world-class symphony, strolling in Discovery Green. (Length of Act One: 35 minutes.)
Act Two: As word hits of Katrina, Houstonians of all races, creeds and colors leap into action, rummaging through their closers for clothes that no longer fit. Steely-eyed government officials say things like "Damn the red tape, just do it!!! This is Houston, where we get things done!!" (Length of Act Two: 10 minutes.)
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Act Three: Pan over the Astrodome like the after-battle scene in Gone With the Wind. Mariah Carey singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" plays, with the title word in the chorus replaced by "Thank You, Houston." Show plenty of shots of refugees gratefully accepting Members Only jackets from soccer moms who tell them "it's nothing, really." Close with testimonials from actual Katrina evacuees saying how great it is. Last shot: As you pan back from the Dome floor, fade to black. The the screen fills with white lettering:
"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.
And so many of the people in the arena here were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
-- Barbara Bush
Fade to black. Credits roll over a montage of Apollo 11's first words on the moon, Jean Michel Jarre's 1986 downtown concert and....and...we'll get back to you with other highlights.
Thank you for your consideration,