Scouting Locations Revisited

July, 2017
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Since the beginning of Hollywood, many filmmakers used the city of New Orleans as their muse.  From the history, to the unique culture and food - ‘The Crescent City’ seems to be a catalyst for stories that bring a mystical quality to any film production that is done in or around this city.

Recently, the state of Louisiana provided tax credits to entice filmmakers to bring their film productions to the state. With this bait, a surge of film and television productions have been filmed right here in New Orleans giving the city of yet another nickname- Hollywood South.

We are presenting scouting locations of movies that were made before and during the ‘Hollywood South’ era. Some locations in this section may seem familiar and others not so much. However, it’s the ingenuity of the men and women who work behind the scene to create a world that the director wants the audience to experience. Thus, turning the ordinary to the extraordinary.

The French director Louis Malle’s controversial film, ‘Pretty Baby’ (1978) was shot in The Columns Hotel. The hotel was a perfect setting for Malle’s turn of the century drama. As the years pass by, this hotel has been featured in numerous films, television series and music videos, but the film ‘Pretty Baby’ put this quaint Uptown hotel on the map.

The film ‘Down By Law’ (1986), directed by Jim Jarmusch, was filmed mainly in the Marigny and Warehouse districts of New Orleans. The apartment building that one of the main character was thrown out off by his girlfriend after a falling out, is next to an old Hibernia Bank Building located in the Marigny.

Tipitina's is the nightclub where legends from the music industry come to play when they're in town. The movie ‘The Big Easy’ (1985), transformed this night spot into a restaurant, making it unrecognizable to patrons that frequent this holy grail of music halls. Also,Tipitina’s has been featured from time to time in the HBO’s television series- 'Treme’ (2010 to 2013).

The retirement home used in the 2008 film, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, is the place where our protagonist was cared for and is a mansion located in the Garden District. It’s easy to see why the film scout(s) chose this location to be the focal point of Benjamin’s many returns to the only home he knew.

The film ‘Trumbo’ (2015) and the comedy film ‘Keanu’ (2016) were filmed in and around St Maurice’s Church - located in the Lower 9th ward. In ‘Keanu’, the actual church was used in the opening sequence. In ‘Trumbo’, the jail that the main character  was incarcerated in is adjacent to the church. Both of these venues were totally transformed to fit the scene that the director(s) wanted.

The comedy film, ‘Bad Moms’ (2016) was set in Chicago but filmed in New Orleans. The Contemporary Art Center (CAC), located in the Warehouse district, was staged as an office space. The top gallery space was converted into the main character’s place of employment. It’s amazing, how talented, behind the scenes artisans, turned this art center into a functional work space.

 

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