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    Can New Orleans Continue To Grow As Hollywood South?

    Before the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was known for its food, music, culture, and film industry. While the city continues to rebuild; its film industry is beginning to take off.

    New Orleans and Louisiana have steadily attracted movie dollars to the state since tax incentives were offered to movie makers in 2002. Community leaders have been referring to New Orleans as Hollywood South, but what’s been missing, they say, are big-time studios.

    In the industry they are known as “hot spots,” or popular locations used in the movies. New Orleans has many of these spots, perhaps because it is cheaper to shoot on location than to construct a set: or maybe it conveys the mood and ambience of the “real place”. Whatever the reason, filmmakers have shot and captured the city’s graces and old world charm, embracing the elegant 18th Century buildings, the joie vivre of the French Quarter and the Parades. The lively jazz scenes that mark Bourbon Street and Esplanade Avenue, as well as, the dark back-alleys, the sleazy bars and gambling saloons and the turbulent river have also added to the mood of this gritty but one of a kind city. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, many mainstream movies had been shot in New Orleans such as: Alan J. Pakula’s “The Pelican Brief” (1993), which had Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington racing in and out of trouble in New Orleans and Esplanade Avenue.

    Other movies like Eve’s Bayou (1997), Double Jeopardy (1999), Runaway Jury ( 2003),Last Holiday (2005) etc. are only a few movies that have been filmed in New Orleans prior to Katrina.

    “These movies are also responsible for what has set the pathway for New Orleans to be labeled as Hollywood South”, according to Stacey Green, New Orleans Film and Video Headquarters.

    Since Hurricane Katrina, In October 2006, Mayor C. Ray Nagin joined Governor Kathleen Blanco and LIFT Production executives to celebrate what was described as the official groundbreaking of the LIFT Film Factory, owned and operated by LIFT Production, a Louisiana-based company.

    The Film Factory is a 300,000 square foot studio and soundstage facility that includes four sound stages, a film training institute, and distribution house under one roof. This facility will provide technical training that will give New Orleans the skills they need to get jobs in the film industry and provide a better quality of life for their families. Digital media products developed at the Film Factory will enable New Orleans to diversify and expand its economy with 21st century entertainment products, making the city a global competitor in the film industry.

    Post- Katrina New Orleans has become known as Hollywood south due to it’s announcing of the expansion of LIFT Production and recent movies that have been filmed in the city.

    Recently filmed movies include Déjà vu starring Denzel Washington, a Brad Pit project, along with a film starring rapper 50cent and Robert Dinero, set to begin filming this upcoming February.

    LIFT Production has produced and financed more than 30 motion pictures and television movies since its opening in 2002. The Film Factory will be located on 18 acres of land west of the French Quarter at the intersection of St. Louis & Galvez Streets.

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    Can New Orleans Continue To Grow As Hollywood South?