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Occupying the space between cultural reproduction and theatrical production, the HBO series Treme offers an important vantage point from which to analyze the intersection of race, class, culture, and media representation animating New Orleans’s post-Katrina tourist identity. Treme illustrates the tension between the welcome recognition and celebration of New Orleans black expressive culture and its spectacularization and commodification. The resuscitation of tourist tropes and an emphasis on jazz and heritage music in the series often render the city’s history of racial conflict and injustice invisible or subordinate to new narratives of cross-racial unity among Katrina survivors and paternalistic actions by white characters uniquely positioned to express the community’s outrage. Treme takes up where the disaster tour leaves off, giving viewers - televisual tourists - access to purportedly authentic places, people, events, and experiences that exist beyond the tourist landscape and that suggest a racial remapping of the city.


This is a post-print version of the article, the final draft after refereeing. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Television and New Media, 13/3, May/2012 by SAGE Publications Ltd./SAGE Publications, Inc., All rights reserved. © The published paper is available at:



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