“Indiana. Hell I wouldn’t live there even if I lived there.”

That’s from one New Orleans detective to his partner, who is moving to Indianapolis to be closer to his son.

It’s a funny line. Hoosiers with a sense of humor should appreciate it, along with the rest of the work from David “The Wire” Simon’s HBO series “Treme” in which the line was written for.

I’ve been a fan of New Orleans well before the series ran from 2010 to 2013. “Treme” was a fantastically underrated show about the struggle in New Orleans after Katrina. Its characters include chefs, musicians, politicians, lawyers, reporters and cops.

It mixed actors with the real people of New Orleans. During my last trip there in 2014 I got to meet one of those people -- musician Davis Rogan, who was not only a music consultant for the show but had a character in it that was based on him played by Steve Zahn.

I’m going back to New Orleans this week to explore more of the restaurants, bars and neighborhoods that were the focus of the city.

I thought about New Orleans during a recent assignment I had for Inspired Living magazine about live music at Region restaurants. Not bars, restaurants. There aren’t many. In New Orleans it’s almost mandatory to have live music in restaurants.

It’s not all Bourbon Street. In fact, the more you fall in love with the city, the less you are on that famous street. Instead, try Frenchmen Street. It’s not far from the southern end of Bourbon, and you can walk there with a Go Cup (that’s a cup of beer you can buy on the street).

During this visit I plan to hit Baccahanal, a Bywater wine, food and beer joint with an outdoor patio that features fine dining on a paper plate and live music. After Katrina, guest chefs would cook outside in the patio for crowds in what was called “NOLA’s original pop-up.” That experience was reenacted in “Treme.”

I look forward to seeing a lot of hats in New Orleans. I love a good hat. And down there it’s a fashion staple.

I’m always shocked when I discover there are people who have yet to visit New Orleans. It’s barely a few hours by plane and a 16-hour drive. Drive eight hours to Nashville, stay overnight, and drive another eight to New Orleans.

If more locals visit New Orleans, maybe we can bring some of that unique character back to the Region, where you are living here even if you aren’t living here (but I hope you are living here!).

Because, as the great Dr. John says in another of my favorite lines from the show, “it matters a difference.”


Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.