Caught with a Roach, He Gets Cuffed and Thrown in a Cruiser

The second episode of the new HBO series ‘Treme’ continued to compel me last night.  There are so many plots happening yet each one is as interesting and realistic as the other.  But I wondered about how true it was that a man standing outside a nightclub who gets caught with a roach gets locked up by police over the infraction?

Am I missing the something about New Orleans law enforcement? I mean, there’s gotta be a thousand jays being smoked on Bourbon St. on any given night in the Crescent City, so does it ring true that a horn player who snuffs out one jay is forced to be handcuffed and marched into a cruiser for a trip to jail?  I looked up pot laws in the US and found that indeed–in Louisiana it’s a misdemeanor first offense, but the penalty for possession of any amount of weed is 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. Still, I wonder if they try to cart every violator off to jail like that?

Maybe it’s that it’s set in 2005, five years ago, and just after the hurricane.  In other parts of the country we’ve seen pot laws pushed further and further down in priority, to where in California they no longer arrest or hassle medical marijuana dispensaries. Just yesterday on the Amherst Common, thousands braved the chilly temps to light up weed right there en masse in public.

Treme is bound to become a hit because so far I really care about the plight of the characters; each has their own unique problems that are compelling and realistic. Especially true was the disdain with which New Orleans musician regards anyone who has to play a gig on Bourbon St.  Watching the contrast between the look on Antoine’s face when he plays the Bullet Sports Bar with real musicians and the blase look on his face as he toots the horn in front of strippers on Bourbon for the tourists said it all.