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Synopsis

Story by:  Eric Overmyer & Lolis Eric Elie
Teleplay by: Lolis Eric Elie
Directed by:  Alex Zakrzewski

Antoine Batiste tries to talk his way out of a job at Theophile Jones Elie Elementary School by bringing up his busy schedule, his new band obligations and his criminal history. "Misdemeanors or felonies?"  "Misdemeanors," Batiste admits. He's hired on the spot.

Davis McAlary works on a rap about how Teach For America's good intentions have displaced long-standing New Orleans teachers. His friend, "Simply," reminds him that the government, not Teach for America, fired the teachers. He also tries to dissuade Davis from performing his own raps.

Antoinette "Toni" Bernette talks to a witness who was at Robideaux's supermarket during the post-Katrina mayhem.  He confirms that the cops were beating people and running them out of the store. When she presses for information about the officers involved, the witness says, "I'm not testifying," and cites a pre-Katrina incident in which a New Orleans Police Department officer kicked a Treme man to death and remained on the force, patrolling the neighborhood.

Albert Lambreaux meets with Dana Lyndsey, a documentary filmmaker, and shows off his beadwork. Lyndsey tries to talk him into letting her film him before he comes out on Mardi Gras. She wants to film the process of him making his suit. "The process don't matter without a result," argues Lambreaux, refusing to participate.

In his New York apartment, Delmond Lambreaux tries to get his girlfriend, Jill, to share his newly awakened passion for early jazz. He plays a recording of Jelly Roll Morton and Joe "King" Oliver playing "Tom Cat Blues." She's not hearing it. It reminds her of "brothers toting barges and lifting bales."

Over drinks, Davis chats up his aunt Mimi, trying to get her to back a new record label: The music he intends to produce will be like "Galactic has its way with the Hot 8's front line before sleeping around with Lil Wayne. . . . Funk, bounce, New Orleans hardcore nasty." Pleading insanity, Mimi agrees to invest $5,000.

Still shaken by her attack, LaDonna stares into space at Gigi's. Concerned, her bartender, John, escorts her to her car.

Shawn Colvin invites Annie Tee to join her on her song "I'm Gone" at a House of Blues performance. Then she introduces Annie to her manager, but Annie senses it's not her musical talent that interests him.

Sonny auditions for the Soul Apostles, which has already lost one member. Batiste is polite, but not overly impressed. Mimi and her lawyer present Davis with paperwork to launch their new label. Although he has questions about some of the fine print, Davis signs it.

At the Backstreet Cultural Museum, curator Sylvester Francis and Lambreaux explain to Dana Lyndsey that there is more to Indians than just sewing and suits. They allude to the work the Indians do in the community. Lambreaux agrees to let her film him on Mardi Gras day, certain he'll be the prettiest.

Nelson Hidalgo and C.J. Liguori meet at a Catholic church. Hidalgo says he's ready for more business and presents Liguori with a pearl rosary as a Christmas gift. When Liguori invites him to Midnight Mass, Hidalgo confesses he hasn't been involved in the church since he was a teenager. He says he's the first one in his family to go to college, the first one to vote Republican and "the last one up on Sunday morning."

Batiste brings Christmas presents for his sons to LaDonna at Gigi's. LaDonna promises that she's not letting the assault stop her, although John, her bartender, will be working nights.

Working the line in Enrico Brulard's kitchen, Janette Desautel finds out that food critic Alan Richman is in the dining room. The combination of Brulard's intimidating stares and Richman's scathing criticism of New Orleans restaurants in his GQ article leads her to abandon the line and toss a Sazerac at Richman.

As he sews a patch on his Indian suit, Delmond listens to the Library of Congress recordings of a Jelly Roll Morton oral history. On it, Morton talks about the Mardi Gras Indians.

Mimi is having too good a time at the recording session with Katey Red, Sissy Nobby and Big Freedia. When Davis tries to restore order and return to work, Katey's reaction inspires a fresh song. Hidalgo gives Councilmember Thomas a Christmas gift of tickets to a Saints playoff game.

Dining out with Sofia, Toni encounters Officer Charlie Cantone who tells her to move on from the allegations of police misconduct during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But she learns from Cantone that shots were fired at an officer's car at Robideaux's and the cops were responding to that chaos.

Antoine and his Soul Apostles debut with vocal accompaniment from Wanda Rouzan and June Yamagishi on guitar. When Yamagishi is unavailable for the Christmas Eve gig, the band decides to hire Sonny to replace him. Then Sonny shows up late for rehearsal.

Toni meets with Officer O'Dell about the shots fired, dropping Cantone's name to get him talking. He tells her that when his fellow officers saw the bullet holes in his car, they went to Robideaux's. Recognizing some of the people in the store from the Iberville housing projects, some of the officers headed there next. O'Dell insists he can't remember specific names.

Desautel finds out she's a legend online for the Richman incident.

Delmond, dressed in a Saints jersey, watches the Saints-Giants playoff game at a bar with his re-hired manger, James Woodrow, who is wearing a Giants jersey. Delmond tries to explain what he wants to do: Reach back to the roots of New Orleans jazz and put the old music into a modern context.

Wrapping gifts with her mother, Sofia gets a text message that one of her teachers has committed suicide. She surprises Toni when she appears unaffected by the news.

Delmond runs into Desautel and remembers they met each other in the JetBlue terminal. Delmond invites her to his New Year's Eve gig.

Sonny joins the Soul Apostles and things are going well on the bandstand. But when Batiste sees him leave the bar, apparently to cop some dope, he sends bassist Cornell Williams out to follow. Cornell tells Sonny that he's at risk of blowing this gig, and many others to come.

Batiste's sons open gifts in Baton Rouge. He's done a better job of selecting gifts for the boys than he did last year. Annie, clad in a bow, gifts Davis with a piece by Mendelssohn. Desiree is disappointed when the jewelry box she opens from Batiste contains, not a ring, but a necklace.

Lambreaux and Delmond have a tense Christmas dinner at Dickie Brennan's Steak House.  Concerned that his father is edgy and seems to find fault with everything, Delmond suggests to Lambreaux that he might be depressed. Furious and fed up, Lambreaux leaves the table and goes home.

With a half-naked woman next to him in bed, Sonny contemplates his life. Colson spends Christmas alone in his FEMA trailer. Desautel dines with her friends from Brulard's and re-enacts her now-famous Sazerac toss. Sofia sneaks out to party with some friends.

Batiste learns Dinerral Shavers, the snare drummer from the Hot 8 Brass band, has been shot dead.

Smoking a joint and a sharing laugh, Delmond apologizes to his father for implying that he was crazy.

 

Janette Desautel in kitchen

14: Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?

Season 2

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