New Orleans locals have enjoyed a few surprise treats recently, including rubbing shoulders with the likes of Channing Tatum and Nicholas Cage while hanging out it various restaurants and dives around the city. But they are not the only ones who have reaped the benefits of the influx of film industry activity in Louisiana.
In 2002, the city introduced new tax incentives aimed at filmmakers to encourage them to relocate much of their production to Louisiana. Since then, hundreds of films have been shot in the state. The incentives proved fruitful for the state's economy, making it it one of the few states in the nation to maintain a steady Gucci Belt Bag
— at times growing — economy despite the downward spiral being faced by the rest of the country.
Attracting the film industry has proven beneficial in obvious ways, such as keeping film students in state rather than having them jet to Los Angeles right after graduation. But such a profitable trade has helped out the local economy in more ways than that. Everyone from homeowners to port-o-potty distributors to caterers in New Orleans have seen an influx of dollar signs since the new era of film making began in the state.
Filmmakers send location scouts around an area in search of the perfect filming locations. The producers then propose a reasonable offer to the owner of the home, business or facility they would like to use. Notable sites would include uptown's Half Moon bar in 2005's "The Skeleton Key," a former Metairie Bennigan's in 2005's "Waiting" and Lafreniere Park in the recent 2012 film, "21 Jump Street." Homeowners from the Garden District to the westbank have been propositioned and paid to rent out their homes to be used for filming.
Of course, a film crew needs more than just a location. For cast and crew who work long hours with few real breaks, catering is provided to keep them satisfied scene after scene. Caterers in New Orleans get a great deal of business from locally camped movie sets that need to feed Gucci Briefcase
an entire work staff every day of filming. Some local caterers in New Orleans who have participated include Andrea's Restaurant, Gucci Shoes
NOLA Foods and Ralph Brennan Catering.
Another local service needed for film production sets is security to protect the stars, expensive equipment and valuable time from snooping fans and disgruntled locals. The transportation needed includes limousines to move celebrities, secure buses to haul equipment, helicopters used for filming from otherwise impossibly high angles and more. Waste management, furniture rentals, camera rentals and film development are just a few of the many other local sectors than gain business from the film industry's presence.
Perhaps the greatest long-term achievement of Louisiana's film endeavors will be the many production people, actors and actresses, and others involved in the creative process who continue to move to New Orleans after falling in love with its Southern charm on their visits.