Hollywood production companies found New Orleans a beautiful and friendly place in which to make movies. The Louisiana legislature happily made tax credits available to draw more companies into the area, and business was booming until Hurricane Katrina made its devastating way through the Gulf Coast of the United States. Another location was suddenly necessary, one that didn’t require moving everything several states away.
What they needed
Roll credits on Shreveport, a Louisiana city 350 miles north of New Orleans whose skyline, riverfront and landscape were pressed into service to replace those damaged or destroyed by wind and water. “You’ll find a little of everything here, from swamps and cypress trees to antebellum plantations to a modern skyline with casinos and high-rise office buildings.”
Movie types who moved their work to Shreveport and Bossier City did not have to give up lucrative tax incentives from the legislature. Any state contracts they had inked in New Orleans could be executed in Shreveport as well as in their old digs, some of them underwater or severely damaged.
“Hollywood types have transformed this once-quiet river town [Shreveport] into “Hollywood South,” filming big-budget movies like Kevin Costner’s “The Guardian,” building elaborate sets and sound stages, and pouring millions into the economy.” Though the state and its citizens would be feeling the effects of Katrina’s visit for years, the income from Hollywood blockbuster movies and the continuing presence of major studios’ personnel would help ameliorate Louisianians’ pain.
Another vied for the title “Hollywood of the South”
The Atlanta, Georgia, area hosts many of the Hollywood companies that entertain millions every year on silver screen and television. Georgia is as happy to host them and their movie incomes as is Shreveport. There could even be a David-and-Goliath aspect to this friendly competition, considering the worldwide fame of Atlanta and its larger population. Nevertheless, this is a competition unlikely to dim the lights in either city, since the film crews, caterers, stunt crews and actors now have at least two places in the relatively warm South to call temporary home.
“Popular shows like ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Necessary Roughness’ all call the city home.” Movies, television shows and money are being liberally spread around; workers need only find a friendly place to rent (or buy) lodgings, and everyone is happy.
Perhaps this is another instance of “spreading the wealth.” If so, millions of viewers are unlikely to complain anytime soon.