Season 3 opens 25 months after Katrina. Now that some semblance of normalcy has returned to New Orleans, different factions are poised to clash over the future of the city.
Antoine Baptiste goes to pay his respects to a fallen jazz comrade in Treme, and stiffs another cab driver on his way to the memorial. He and some other musicians get arrested when police try to shut down the unpermitted street concert because of noise complaints. By the end of the episode, is ready to get arrested all over again to make his point. His girlfriend, Desiree, warns him that he’d better not get arrested again because he needs his job as assistant high school band director. In Season 2, Antoine grudgingly settled into some adult responsibilities, but Season 3 seems poised to test is his resolve.
DJ Davis is trying to get a new music project off the ground, having been exiled from his last band for lack of musical talent. To raise money, he offers music history tours for tourists. The tour turns ends up being more cautionary than nostalgic when it turns out that every point of interest was either torn down years ago or shuttered after the storm.
Carpetbagger Nelson Hidalgo is trying to get in on a major redevelopment project. Some local businessmen want to bulldoze a large patch of the city to build a National Jazz Center to “monetize the culture in a smart and civic way.” Doubtless, this project will threaten the livelihoods of the bar room and street musicians. Will their natural habitat become another musical landmark New Orleans failed to preserve?
Delmond and his father, Big Chief Albert Lambreaux, are savoring the critical success of their new hybrid jazz/Mardi Gras Indian record. The Chief is finally fixing up his house – unaware that his children paid for the repairs, not the album – but he’s developed an ominous cough.
Toni Burnette makes friends with an out-of-town reporter modelled on the real-life investigative journalist A.C. Thompson. The two are poised to delve deeper into a pair of suspected police killings after Katrina.
The first episode of Season 3 was a bit of a recap in its own right, with all the characters on the cusp of major changes. LaDonna and her family have gone all in and returned to New Orleans after hedging their bets in Baton Rouge. Annie’s musical career is taking off, as is Janette’s career as a New York chef under the tutelage of David Chang. She turned down an offer to return to New Orleans and start a restaurant. This episode was mostly exposition, but I’m feeling good the season ahead.