Common Sense Media says

Post-Katrina drama mixes great music and mature themes.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights how the strong and historically important music culture of New Orleans attempts to revive itself in a post-Katrina world. It also offers strong points of view about who is responsible for the city’s devastation and slow recovery process. It also shows lifestyles that involve frequent alcohol, cigarette, and sometimes drug use.

Positive role models

The residents of Treme love their city and want to rebuild it. Many of the musicians smoke pot, womanize, and/or are divorced. Law enforcement and other agencies are shown attempting to cover up some of their inappropriate behavior.


New Orleans police officers and military personnel are shown patrolling the city streets on foot; police helicopters are frequently heard at night as they protect the city. Scenes of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina are frequent. There are discussions about escaped prisoners. As the series continues, look for occasional fighting and possible injuries.


Contains some strong sexual innuendo. People are shown getting in and out of bed and in their underwear. Nudity (breasts and back sides) is occasionally visible.


Words like “ass,” “damn,” “bitch,” “p---y,” “s--t,” “f--k” are frequently audible. The N-word is occasionally heard, especially in contemporary song lyrics. Rude gestures are also visible.


Budweiser beer labels, and occasional Apple computers visible. Musicians like Elvis Costello make cameo appearances. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Consumption of wine, beer, and hard liquor is frequently visible. Cigarette and cigar smoking also visible. People are occasionally shown smoking joints.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dramatic and mature series -- which features the residents of the Treme neighborhood in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -- includes potentially disturbing scenes of the storm’s aftermath, including flood damage and military patrols. The HBO series contains lots of profanity (“ass,” “damn,” “bitch,” “p---y,” “s--t,” “f--k”), and the N -word is occasionally audible. Expect occasional nudity (bare buttocks, breasts) and frequent consumption of wine, Budweiser beer, and hard liquor. There’s also lots of cigarette, cigar, and pot smoking.

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What's the story?

TREME is a dramatic series co-created by The Wire's David Simon that features a group of local New Orleans musicians and the people connected to them as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It follows musical performers like Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce), Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters), and local radio DJ David McAlary (Steve Zahn), as they struggle to revive the musical heart of their flood-ravaged community. Restaurant owner Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens) struggles with a lack of staff and supplies while bar owner Ladonna Batiste-Williams (Khandi Alexander) negotiates her relationship with her musician/ex-husband. Meanwhile, flamboyant Tulane professor Creighton Bernette (John Goodman) offers his strong criticism about the government’s role in the flood disaster to anyone who will listen while his wife, attorney Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo), helps victims locate missing loved ones, including those who don’t want to be found.

Is it any good?


The gritty show, which is set in the flood-ravaged New Orleans community of Treme, unfolds amidst the traditional brass band music for which the neighborhood is known. As a result, the music is as just as important as its ensemble cast. But the series’ most significant character is the historic city itself, which acts as a visual reminder of the devastation that its residents continue to deal with.

The series’ well-written storylines are mixed in with strong musical performances and lots of local flavor. While some may find this combination entertaining, others may find it difficult to balance against the strong messages it sends about the seemingly endless struggles the city’s past and present residents continue to face, and about the fault of the politicians and various agencies that failed them. But to its credit, it succeeds in capturing the real voice and spirit of the city, and of the people who are rebuilding it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. What kinds of things have the city’s locals done to rebuild their communities? Do you think the controversies surrounding the breaking of the levees and the way government and law enforcement officials handled the crisis have ended completely? What do you remember about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

  • The series shows lots of alcohol use and smoking. How do you think TV and movies should handle alcohol, drugs, and smoking? Is a show like this just reflecting reality, or is it participating in romanticing dangerous or unhealthy behavior?

  • Where is exactly is Treme located? Did you know that Treme is America’s oldest African-American neighborhood? Where does its musical history come from? What other kinds of things does the city of New Orleans offer?

TV details

Cast:John Goodman, Khandi Alexander, Wendell Pierce
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD

This review of Treme was written by

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Parent of a 17 year old Written bysofie jayne June 17, 2010
Great music!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages


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