David Simon is renowned for the way he has brought Baltimore to life — first as a crime reporter, then as a writer for Homicide: Life on the Street, and most recently as the man behind HBO's acclaimed drama The Wire, which recently finished production on its fifth and final season. Now, Simon is turning his attention to another American city: New Orleans, still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina's rampage.
In a fascinating New Yorker profile, Simon reveals that he's hoping to do a new series for HBO set in the Crescent City, a location he'd hoped to explore even before Katrina hit. His idea is to focus on the community of musicians in the city, with main characters based on some of the real personalities of the New Orleans music scene. But it would be "about" musicians the same way The Wire is "about" cops — which is to say, the musicians would be a piece of a larger puzzle, in this case "a visual argument for why cities matter."
New Orleans already has one series: This fall's K-Ville on Fox. But that series has struggled to be more than a generic crime drama — and Simon's work is anything but generic. On The Wire, he tosses viewers into the middle of a Baltimore that feels very alive, populated with local residents and authentic catchphrases. The show doesn't gloss over problems with drugs, political corruption, education, or any other social issues, but it also maintains a sense of humor and heart. Obviously, thinking about doing a series is a long way from getting one on the air — but if this project comes through, it might be just the show that brings the real New Orleans to light.