The Magnolia Projects: the real TREME
Remembering the Magnolia by Joshua Bee Alafia
Check out the trailer for this unfinished documentary, “an oral history of [New Orleans'] Magnolia Housing Projects”, so reminiscent of TREME, David Simon’s much-feted TV drama, that it almost feels like some leftover footage from the show. For anyone who loved Simon’s celebration of NOLA’s glorious idiosyncrasies (I did), this looks like a treat, with vibrant shots of second lines parades and Mardi Gras Indians (even more visually striking that their fictional counterparts) serving as a backdrop for the post-Katrina social commentary.
Synopsis: The Magnolia, officially the C.J. Peete Projects, was one of the Housing Projects of New Orleans, built in 1941 and were demolished after Hurricane Katrina. Many of the residents were relocated to other cities and now are trying to find their way back to the new housing developement renamed the Harmony Oaks.
The video was posted a while ago, with a provisionnal release date set for December 2010, but I couldn’t find any evidence on the web that the documentary actually came out. That’s a shame.
The Magnolia Projects are also well-known for being the launching ground of New Orleans rap and birthplace of Jay Electronica, who tweeted that the old lady playing the piano in the intro is his grandmother.
Edit 02/08/11: One of the main musical story arcs of Treme‘s second season features prominently Altonio “Ace B” Jackson, a pure product from the Magnolia Projects, as Dj Davis’ street-cred caution Lil Calliope.