New Orleans is Back: Television brings the Katrina-ridden city back into the spotlight

Track Guide: “Woodstock” by Eva Cassidy; “Rain” by Priscilla Ahn; “It’s A Game” by Vaughan Penn; “Who’ll Stop the Rain” by Vaughan Penn ← This tune also ended the pilot of K-Ville.

There are a lot of things needed for a good gumbo. First of all, you need time: it takes hours to make. That alone makes you appreciate the taste of the New Orleans classic. But once you’ve had it in the Big Easy, you can’t have it anywhere else.

Now would be a good time to mention that I spent my summer last year living and working for a social work agency in New Orleans. I was there long enough to live, love, and leave just as confused as when I came. It’s with this soft spot in my heart and multiple hours of my life devoted to media productions of New Orleans that I come to watch K-Ville. And so, perhaps, my spin may be a bit different…because I consider it a special place.

K-Ville certainly tries to encompass everything about the city in one quick snatch. In one 45 minute episode (seen on iTunes!) we get a good grasp of everything New Orleans: Corrupt Casino Owners, Corrupt police officers, Corruption in general, Jazz, Tourists, PTSD, Bourbon, Bourbon Street, Fema Checks (actually, there are really no such things as FEMA checks, but good try), Pat-O’Brien’s, Violence, Racial Tensions, Gumbo…Google or Wikipedia all those and you might find New Orleans in the description.

But in this gumbo known as K-Ville, there’s something a bit sour. And dare I say it: I think it’s Anthony Anderson’s acting. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not bad. But when Anthony’s Marvin Boulet (of course his last name had to be French!) sits in an interview room and a perfect drop of sweat rolls down the center of his face…I find it hard to believe him. I don’t know if he knows what it was like in New Orleans during the storm. I’m not sure I do.

Oh – and take it from a visitor – in my 4 months in the city I never saw a shoot out, a blown up cop car, or violence really of any kind. I did, however, see empty houses, lost souls, and lost pets. They got that part right.

I don’t feel intrigued enough to watch K-Ville again next week.
But did it get me to think about New Orleans again and raise in me an itch go back?
You bet.

After all, that was the effect of Spike Lee’s recent Emmy. “When the Levees Broke” was honored for its subject matter. The show was awarded for the courage to document the event.

This new show K-Ville may not stick around, but that may not be its intent. Perhaps the goal of the show should not to make a killing or be popular, but to stir up the debate. Stir up the gumbo that has cooled down for a while. Because no matter how popular the show is or how many awards (or lack thereof) it does receive, through K-Ville and Spike Lee, New Orleans once again gets back in the news.

And for that I am appreciative.


K-Ville Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! TV

Charles Bridge, New Orleans Photo Courtesy of Windows to your Soul


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