By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
Hollywood is eternally searching for the filmmaking Shangri-La. In the 1990s, filmmakers often traveled to Canada. But that eventually became less fashionable, and these days the industry is migrating in a different direction — to Louisiana. “L.A. South” has become the go-to spot for shooting movies.
Even before the economic recession hit Hollywood, the state of Louisiana had been quietly gaining stature as the place to make quality movies and stretch dollars.
“We have the largest number of productions outside of Los Angeles and New York City,” says Chris Stelly, director of film for Louisiana Entertainment, a division of the state office of economic development.
“Like Vancouver used to be ‘Hollywood North,’ Louisiana’s the hot spot now,” says Patrick Lussier, director of Drive Angry 3D, a supernatural road movie starring Nicolas Cage and Amber Heard, opening in February.
The state subbed for Texas, Colorado and New Mexico in Drive Angry, Lussier says.
The consummate versatile character actor, Louisiana has also played Utah, Washington, D.C., and London. “The film industry wants to find places it can reinvent and make look like anything it needs,” Lussier says. “There’s a lot of opportunity do that in Louisiana.”
Movies shooting in Louisiana range from mega-budget blockbusters to quirky indies. Films shot this year include testosterone-fueled action-adventure The Expendables, which opens Aug. 13, and the comic book-inspired The Green Lantern, due in 2011. The low-budget horror film The Last Exorcism opens Aug. 27, and the big-screen version of the 1960s TV show The Big Valley arrives next year.
And the films cross all sectors, from Oscar bait to tween phenomena. The much-nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was shot in New Orleans in 2008, and Breaking Dawn, the fourth installment in the hugely successful Twilight series, films this year in Baton Rouge.
In 2009, 60 films and TV shows shot in Louisiana. By mid-2010, 85 productions have already signed on, Stelly says: “We’re well on our way to having a record-breaking year.”
New Orleans as Anytown, USA
The boom is most visible around New Orleans. In 2009, 22 movies and TV shows filmed there. Records have already been broken in 2010; by July, 24 projects had shot there.
“We’re way ahead of the curve in the New Orleans region,” says Katie Gunnell, interim director of the city’s Office of Film and Television. “The city has seen an incredible bump in applications for 2011 as well.”
Across the state, work is consistent and year-round, despite hurricane season and blazing summer temperatures. “We’ve maintained 20 to 25 productions at any given time during the year,” Stelly says. “We’ve doubled for New York City, Los Angeles, the Northwest, basically Anytown, USA.”
Those who have shot there point to several factors contributing to the region’s appeal: diversity of scenery, financial incentives and proficient crews.
“You can get an 1800s look, you can get a Parisian look,” says Todd Lewis, producer of The Chaperone. “You can get suburbs, you can get the country. It’s got a little bit of everything.” His movie, out next year, is one of several Louisiana-based films funded by World Wrestling Entertainment and featuring wrestling stars, in this case Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
Director Rod Lurie was looking to duplicate rural Mississippi in Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 classic coming out next year. He did so in and around Shreveport. “They really do have it all there,” he says. “You can go anywhere from swamps to beautiful rivers to cities to football stadiums. We were able to shoot the entire film within a 10-mile radius.”
Jonah Hex, the supernatural action thriller in theaters earlier this summer, used New Orleans to double for the Old West.
Though producer Andrew Lazar initially had reservations about shooting a Western in Louisiana, his concerns disappeared when he considered the obvious. “The French Quarter hasn’t changed much over the years, so you don’t need a lot of set dressing,” Lazar says. “We just put some dirt on the road and we were back in the 1870s.”
Says Lussier: “New Orleans has so many looks. You can get a European look, and it also has an unmistakable feeling of the American frontier. It’s such an amazing city unto itself. Why not take advantage of it?”
Filmmakers say it’s hard to go wrong with scenery like this.
“Wherever you point the camera, you have a beautiful and picturesque set design,” says Daniel Stamm, director of The Last Exorcism. “And the atmosphere does something for the actors. It’s so old world. We shot at a plantation, and the smell and the sounds of the floorboards did something to the atmosphere that’s tangible, that you wouldn’t get in L.A. on a soundstage.”
Stamm’s horror movie was enhanced by the surprise appearance of a toothy visitor.
“We were shooting in the Ninth Ward (an area in New Orleans hard-hit by Katrina), and you could still see the waterline in this old plantation,” Stamm says. “One day, we couldn’t shoot for three hours because an alligator had crawled on set. That does something to the team, something you can’t fake.”
Tax incentives best in USA
The hauntingly creative vibe may be palpable, but the bottom line is equally alluring.
The state offers the most competitive economic and tax incentives of any in the country. A system of financial perks was enacted after Hurricane Katrina destroyed $81 billion in property and killed 1,836 people in 2005.
“We approached it like a business, and it keeps (filmmakers) coming back, based on our reliability and stability,” Stelly says. “For every dollar you spend in the state, we’ll give you 30% back (in rebates). And we give you an additional 5% for hiring Louisiana residents on productions.”
Tax incentives can be sold as credits or used to offset personal or corporate income tax, he says.
“As things get more expensive, you have to go wherever you get the budget relief,” Lussier notes. “You can no longer use Mulholland Drive for your backwoods road movie.”
There is also the sense among filmmakers that they are helping an area that sorely needs a hand in bouncing back from one of the worst natural disasters in history.
“Louisiana has been through so much, and I’m glad to be able to make a film there,” says Nicole Kidman, who is shooting the 2011 film Trespass in Shreveport this summer with Nicolas Cage.
“The economy desperately needs the film business,” Lurie says. “And it’s fantastic watching people get employed. We hired a thousand people to be extras and put a couple of hundred bucks in their pockets, and that’s helpful to the economy. The film commission is among the most proactive I’ve ever seen.”
Between that obliging spirit and the financial incentives, Lurie says, “It doesn’t pay to make movies in Los Angeles anymore. You can save too much money by going out of town.”
Crews with skill, enthusiasm
Shooting movies outside Hollywood is certainly not new. But the more common scenario is to shoot segments in distant cities and use Hollywood studios as a base. As more films are shot in Louisiana, the ancillary businesses and infrastructure associated with the industry — post-production centers and soundstages — are also increasingly cropping up.
Every Hollywood-based filmmaker interviewed spoke glowingly of the local production personnel and regional actors.
“Because of all that’s being shot there, local crews get better and better,” says Ken Zunder, cinematographer for The Chaperone. “You get a lot of crews that are very savvy here. It’s not like going to, say, Detroit.”
The combination of skill and energy is something particularly appreciated by those coming from Hollywood.
“In L.A., everyone is exhausted by the film business, with all the noise and shooting at night,” Stamm says. “Down there, everyone is not jaded. There is still an enthusiasm about the whole thing.”
So much enthusiasm, in fact, that some Los Angeles residents have moved south with the jobs.
Producer Joshua Throne made several films in the state, the latest being The Expendables. He has homes in both Louisiana and Los Angeles. Throne’s next project is The Technician, co-starring Kevin Bacon and Kurt Russell, which will shoot in Louisiana in January.
“There’s such a zest for life here,” he says. “There’s lots of good food, good people, wonderful history, and it still has the Southern charm.”
Lewis and his wife also have made the move to New Orleans. “I love L.A., I really do,” he says. “And I’m sorry that productions are running away from L.A., but this is a really easy and cost-efficient place to make movies.”
Ed Borasch Jr., a property master, moved from Southern California. “I have to go where the work is,” he says. “It’s just so much nicer and quieter here, and the traffic’s not as crazy, and the people are super friendly. You feel like you’re welcomed here. I lived in Los Angeles for 15 years, and that was a great run for me, but the work dried up, and now my time is here.” Meanwhile, he’s gotten married, had a baby and laid down roots.
‘A sexy city’
Some stars have bought homes in New Orleans in recent years, including Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Cage, who has shot several movies there.
Actress Annabeth Gish shot two films in New Orleans this summer. The first was The Fields, co-starring Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and the second was The Chaperone.
“So much is happening in New Orleans,” says Gish, who’s married to stunt coordinator Wade Allen. “It’s been a long time since I or my husband shot in Los Angeles. You’d think with Arnold (Schwarzenegger) as our governor, we’d be bringing movies back to L.A.
“But one of the great things about coming here on location is you feel like you’re paying back the debt the country owes by being here and feeding the economy. And it’s a character in its own right, so saturated with culture and flavor. It’s a sexy city with so much history — a little hot, though.”
Hollywood types are never shy about complaining, but except for occasional remarks about the searing summer heat, no one has a negative thing to say about the southward migration. “The love affair is on,” Lussier says. “When filming starts going to a place, there’s a real excitement. You can feel that, and it can be very productive for both sides.”
Ties between Canada and Hollywood grew frayed as resentment mounted over film crews taking up so much space in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. Will Hollywood and Louisiana maintain a lasting romance?
“It’ll be interesting to see if seven or eight years down the road, people get tired of road closures and the novelty of having movies come to their town,” says Lussier. “For now, it’s great. Hopefully, it will last a while.”
Whew whee y’all! New Orleans has really been rockin’ this month and we are not even halfway through! Besides ringing in the New Year NOLA style, the Crescent City has hosted the Sugar Bowl, the BCS Championship game, our New Orleans Saints at home in the Dome and we are barely scratching the surface. This is but a few of the spectacular events that will be going on in the Big Easy in 2012. Another one to put in the calendar is fast approaching. Don’t miss the kick off for Tales of Cocktail’s 10th Anniversary! Cheers!
See you in NOLA!
Sharon Denise Talbot
Countdown to 10th Anniversary Of Tales of the Cocktail® Kicks Off at the
Newly Renovated Carousel Bar and Lounge In New Orleans
Media and cocktail lovers are invited to the grand re-opening of the Carousel Bar for a preview of what’s in store at Tales of the Cocktail® 2012.
WHO: Tales of the Cocktail®, Hotel Monteleone, members of the media and cocktail enthusiasts.
WHAT: A joint event with Tales of the Cocktail® and the Hotel Monteleone to officially kick off the six-month countdown to the 10th Anniversary Tales of the Cocktail® in New Orleans and unveil the newly renovated and expanded Carousel Bar and Lounge.
This special event will include:
· Carousel Bar and Lounge grand reopening and auction of memorabilia
· Tales of the Cocktail® 2012 countdown event with a sneak peak of spirited events and special unveilings for the festival’s historic 10th Anniversary
· Preview of the official 2012 poster by artist Robert Rodriguez
· A look at the cocktail festival’s first book, Tales the Cocktail from A to Z
· Display of the world record centerpiece, A Million Greetings From New Orleans, by bead artist Stephán Wanger
· The unveiling of Tales of the Cocktail and Fleurty Girl’s newest Cocktail Collection t-shirt celebrating the Old Fashioned
· Complimentary Old Fashioneds featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Luxardo Cherries prepared by the Carousel Bar’s renowned bartending team
WHEN: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Carousel Bar and Lounge Grand Reopening
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Countdown to Tales of the Cocktail
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Performance by Robin Barnes
WHERE: Carousel Bar and Lounge
214 Royal Street
WHY: Over the past decade, Tales of the Cocktail® has only gotten better with age. Now, just six months from its 10th Anniversary, Tales of the Cocktail® is ready to get the party started a little early at Countdown to Tales. This one-of-a-kind media event will give a sneak peak of the spirited events that will make this the biggest and best Tales of the Cocktail yet. Additionally, the Hotel Monteleone will celebrate the reopening of the famous Carousel Bar and Lounge.
HOW: This event is free and open to the public. Click here to reserve your spot today.
About Tales of the Cocktail®
Tales of the Cocktail® is the world’s premier cocktail festival, bringing together the most respected minds on mixology for five days of cocktails, cuisine and culture. Held annually in New Orleans, this international event has something for cocktail professionals and enthusiasts alike with a spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms where brands showcase their latest products. Tales of the Cocktail® returns in 2012 for a historic milestone—its 10th Anniversary of rocking the cocktail world. Join the celebration July 25-29, 2012 and see how Tales of the Cocktail® only gets better with age.
About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society
The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS) is a non-profit organization committed to preserving the unique culture of cocktails and cuisine in New Orleans and beyond. Since it’s founding in 2006 the NOCCPS has supported members of the hospitality industry through programs like the new Apprentice Aid Fund, providing financial assistance to former apprentices in times of medical need, the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program and the Flo Woodward Memorial Scholarship as well as the production of events like Tales of the Cocktail®.
For more information on Tales of the Cocktail®, visit the website at TalesoftheCocktail.com or call 504-948-0511.
About Hotel Monteleone
Since 1886, the Hotel Monteleone, www.hotelmonteleone.com, has proudly stood as one of the first landmarks in the famous French Quarter. The hotel is the Quarter’s largest full-service hotel, featuring 600 comfortable, luxurious guestrooms and suites. Hotel Monteleone is within walking-distance of some of New Orleans most famous attractions and is conveniently located 11 miles from the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Hotel Monteleone is a member of the Preferred Hotels® & Resorts, a consecutive AAA Four Diamond award-winner, and has won the J.D. Power and Associates Upscale Hotel Award for “An Outstanding Guest Experience.”
The New Orleans Hotel Monteleone is celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2011.
Not quite sure I understand the relationship between Bourbon Street and Chinese food but I’m not sure I care. With low fat and low cholesterol, this Tai Pei Bourbon Street Chicken meal may be perfection in a chinese food takeout container. The Frozen Food Master reviews this product, shows you how it looks, tells you how it tastes, and gives you the lowdown in this episode of Freezerburns. Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 cup (170g) Servings per container: 2.5 Calories: 180 Calories from Fat: 25 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 10mg Sodium: 330mg Total Carbohydrate: 34g Dietary Fiber: 2g Sugars: 13g Protein: 6g Price: $2.99
Duration : 0:8:10
Dating agencies are a great way to meet new people, especially when you feel as though you keep running into the same people in the same places. Internet dating has become very popular, but local and national dating agencies still exist to hook people up face to face. While Internet dating can be a lot of fun, dating agencies can also prove very useful. To have a good time and meet quality people, one has to find not just a dating agency, but a reputable dating agency.
If you are in the market for a new agency, ask your friends what dating agencies they have used. Word of mouth is how many dating agencies survive, and when you get the recommendation of a friend or family member, that means a lot more than getting a flyer on your windshield or seeing a commercial while viewing your nightly television. Dating agencies all have something different to offer, so you also need to determine what you want and expect of an agency before you decide on one for you.
When you contact dating agencies, you should interview them as much as they interview you. Ask questions about what clientele they target, and what your expectations should be when you work with them. If you only want to date a specific type of person, be up front about this so that you can take advantage of your exposure through dating agencies. Check out your dating agency, and be sure that they are reputable, even if you have to ask for references.
My Experiences with Dating Agencies: I never could have imagined that dating agencies would bring back romance back into my life. After my wife died two years ago, I plunged wholeheartedly into my medical career. There was no social life for me beyond the white walls of the hospital where I worked as a medical practitioner. I longed for a mate who would understand me and kindle the same kind of spark in me as my beloved wife did.
During one of my lunch breaks, I happened to read an interesting article about dating agencies. Until that point in time, I believed that dating agencies were meant for people with personality flaws, big time introverts, or for people who had ulterior motives like scamming someone out of her money and modesty. However, that article set me thinking positively about trying out a dating agency. Just after I finished my days work, I logged into one of the computers and surfed an online dating side. What I saw made me feel interested, and curious to know more.
I checked through some of the profiles, and to my amazement found some like-minded men who were rather cute and seemed to have honorable intentions. I registered for a dating website and prayed that my personal contact details were kept private and my information was not given to anybody until I gave the consent. My doubts were laid to rest when I saw genuine responses coming from people who were interested in knowing more about me. The dating agency just sent me a brief profile about them and gave me the liberty to pursue or reject them.
The online dating agency stuck to its promise about the confidentiality factor, and passed on to me the information of men who met my picture of an ideal man. I particularly began to forge a steady friendship and relationship with a man from New Orleans who was an electrical engineer. To our amazement, both of us had a lot of common interests and tastes, from television programs to food. We hit it off like long lost friends. We met in person after a month, and the relationship has only grown stronger thanks to the dating agency. Trust me, dating agencies work wonders!
The beautiful thing about being in New Orleans is no matter when you are here there is something happening. If you are looking for an inspirational musical experience join us on January 25 at the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. Where else can attend a free concert in such a stunningly beautiful and deeply historical venue? No place but New Orleans. See you in NOLA!
Sharon Denise Talbot
Sixth annual collaborative concert explores Louisiana’s musical evolution
WHO: The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
WHAT: “Becoming American: The Musical Journey,”
a concert with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Carlos Miguel Prieto
WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 • 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square in the French Quarter
HOW: Free and open to the public; seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Live Internet streaming of this concert is also available on www.LPOmusic.com.
WHY: On Wednesday, Jan. 25, The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will present “Becoming American: The Musical Journey,” the sixth installment of Musical Louisiana: America’s Cultural Heritage. Each year, the popular series examines an aspect of the state’s contributions to classical music with a concert and educational programming. In addition, for the first time a grant from the Mellon Foundation will allow for a live streaming of the performance, bringing this beautiful concert to the widest audience yet.
This year’s program is part of a slate of bicentennial programming, along with The Collection’s exhibition “The 18th Star: Treasures from 200 Years of Louisiana Statehood” and the 17th annual Williams Research Center Symposium, “Louisiana at 200: In the National Eye.” Selections for the concert will trace the evolution of regional musical tastes from the early 19th century to the modern age. An affinity for European masters, including familiar names like Beethoven and Bellini, melded with Caribbean and African influences over time to introduce a brand-new style: jazz.
This project is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Entergy, and Muriel’s Jackson Square. Live Internet streaming of this concert on www.LPOmusic.com is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with Louisiana State University’s College of Music and Dramatic Arts.
About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org or call (504) 523-4662.
About the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1991 by musicians from the former New Orleans Symphony, is the only musician-owned and collaboratively managed professional symphony in the United States. For more information, visit www.lpomusic.com or call (504) 523-6530.
Barack Obama discusses the challenges in rebuilding New Orleans on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. See how the city and its people are rebuilding and moving forward.
Duration : 0:5:37
New Orleans is known for it’s parties and festivals. The New Orleans French Quarter Festival is one of the least known but increasingly popular festivals in New Orleans. This article offers some information about The French Quarter Festival along with links to resources.
New Orleans is a place of magic and wonder, music, parties and fun. The French Quarter is at the heart of everything. If you are looking for an experience that is uniquely New Orleans then The New Orleans French Quarter Festival is for you.
The French Quarter Festival occurs every spring and is Louisiana’s largest annual free music festival. During the French Quarter Festival nearly 20 stages will be spread around the French Quarter and over the 4 day weekend play all types of music. You will hear everything from Jazz, both traditional and contemporary to Latin, rock to blues, Cajun to Zydeco and any other type of music you can think of. There will be both local and international stars.
Then there is the food. Local restaurants offer dishes that will satisfy every budget and taste. There are over 60 booths offering dishes like Cajun meat pies, po-boys, jambalaya and crawfish étouffée. You can sample drinks like Hurricanes, a drink that will blow you away and tropical punches. Prices vary but range from $3 to $10.
Here are some interesting facts regarding the New Orleans French Quarter Festival:
During the 2013 celebration the French Quarter Festival marked its 30th anniversary.
The first French Quarter Festival occurred in 1984 and was started as a way to attract residents back to the FQ.
The main sources for the funding of the French Quarter Festival are:
Sales of merchandise, food and beverages
Fees from vendors
The gala in April
When you take a look at attendance you find the following among the 574,000 attendees:
The Top 5 States in attendance -Louisiana, California, New York, Texas, Florida – visitors from 37 states have been reported.
The Top 5 Foreign Countries are – Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany – visitors from 12 different countries have been observed.
The French Quarter Festival has a major economic impact on the local economy. An analysis conducted by the University of New Orleans found:
The French Quarter Festival 2012 had a total economic impact on the New Orleans area of more than $259.5 million. This included:
$126.6 million in direct spending
$132.9 million in secondary spending
$18.3 million in state and local tax revenue.
The French Quarter Festival hires over 1,400 local musicians during the weekend of the French Quarter Festival
So if you are looking for a taste of New Orleans on a local level. Check out the French Quarter Festival in April each year. For information contact: (800) 673-5725 within the U.S. or (504) 522-5730. Or visit: www.fqfi.org.
Hi y’all! Well tonight is the night! Subrosan is finally here! April 19th @8:00 pm. For the past several months I have had the pleasure of working with a core group of people to bring you what we hope will be an amazing, eye-opening viewing experience. What a ride! It seems like yesterday my sister, brother-in-law, my husband and myself were sitting in the driveway talking. This all started back in July of 2011 when my brother-in-law Dwayne Coots was telling us about a mini-series he wanted to write and produce - Subrosan. Subrosan is a Latin variation meaning “under the rose”. There was certainly a killer story to be told, but it would also be a vehicle for local actors and actresses like myself to gain experience, get a reel of their work (you wouldn’t believe how hard that is to do, even in Hollywood South) and a chance for us to do something we had all dreamed of doing -make a movie. In July we said ‘Let’s do it.” In August, after gathering and auditioning actors and getting equipment, and securing locations etc., we said ” I think we can do this”. By October and November we were saying “We ARE doing this.” In basically 9-10 months around our regular lives and crazy schedules, Subrosan Entertainment has put together the first season of the adult thriller Subrosan. So tonight you get to see the culmination of a lot of hard work, determination and good ole Louisiana ingenuity. I couldn’t be prouder of the talented people who came together to share this experience. I also want to thank you, our family and friends for your support of Subrosan. It is much appreciated. xoxo
Sharon Denise Talbot
We hope you enjoy Episode one of Subrosan!
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Duration : 2 min 44 sec