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America, Illustrated:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Nov 26 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

Bayou Classic…

Nov 26 - 26, 2015
Join us for the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade. The parade will begin at the… more

Clyde & Iggy

Nov 26 - Dec 31, 2015
Join us for the local musical duo Clyde & Iggy.  Their repertoire… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Nov 26, 2015
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Fats Domino & Dave…

Nov 26 - Dec 27, 2015
Join us at the Carver Theater for a Music Tribute honoring Legendary Musicians… more

Florida Room: Jessica…

Nov 26 - 29, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to present Florida Room by Jessica Bizer … more

Jasper Johns:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 31, 2016
Prints from the Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen Collection: Jasper… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
Join us for the  Exhibition: "A Shared Space: KAWS, Karl Wirsum,… more

Patriot, Planter,…

Nov 26, 2015 - Mar 20, 2016
NOMA will present the first exhibition to focus on the works of Pierre-Joseph… more

The Historic New…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Photography of…

Nov 26, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

Tim Youd: 100 Novels

Nov 26, 2015 - Feb 21, 2016
Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd will visit NOMA to perform the… more


Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 10, 2016
This exhibition features work by the Japanese artist Bidou Yamaquchi. Trained… more

Visions of US:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 24, 2016
Visions of US explores evolving ideas about American cultural identity from the… more

2015 Battle of the…

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of the… more

Celebration in the…

Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more


Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Swipe Right and come and play in the Lounge at Foundation Room. DJ Raj Smoove… more

Friday Nights at NOMA

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Every Friday evening, come to the museum for activities and entertainment from… more

Sixty Minute Sip Down

Nov 27 - 27, 2015
Who says it has to end early? We are extending this New Orleans Friday… more

America, Illustrated:…

Nov 26, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
New Orleans based M.S. Rau Antiques will pay tribute to The Saturday Evening… more

Side Order: A tour of New Orleans movie sites

Washington Post

Side Order: A tour of New Orleans movie sites By Cara Kelly

The New Orleans Movie Tour shows off the charms that make the city the third most popular film location after Los Angeles and New York. That includes non-movie spots, such as Napoleon, a bar.

The farmers market along an avenue framed by office buildings is bustling with shoppers examining the fruits and vegetables on offer. Suddenly, the crowds look up toward the sky as billowing brown clouds and fireballs start to choke out the sun. A green-masked man flies into the scene to protect the screaming, panicked people, who are now running for their lives.

The clip ends, and the mini-screens in our 16-passenger van go black. We're still in the middle of the street, just sans ominous clouds and green hero. We've just watched a segment from the 2011 blockbuster "The Green Lantern".? It's one of the films highlighted in the New Orleans Movie Tour, a two-hour driving excursion that showcases the locations of some of the most famous scenes filmed in and around the Big Easy.

Personal Post .As we sit in front of the hotel that the villain Parallax had descended over moments ago, Jonathan and Michelle Ray tell us about the movie's economic impact on the city "it was the largest production in Louisiana history with a $200 billion price tag " and the confusion it created when residents started to think that the farmers market was real, and not an elaborate set put up by Warner Bros.

It was still early by New Orleans standards, well before noon, and I'd taken only the first few sips of my cup of bitter chicory coffee. But the Rays' excitement was helping to cut through my pre-Mardi Gras celebration haze.

Self-proclaimed movie buffs, the husband-and-wife team launched the city's first movie tour company nine months ago to combine their twin obsessions: all things film and New Orleans. After relocating from Connecticut, they were shocked to learn that no one was providing tours of famous locations from such classics as "A Streetcar Named Desire," or newer TV shows such as HBO's "Treme."?

A film professional who has worked on camera crews and even plays a recurring role in USA's upcoming series "Common Law,"? Jonathan is quick to tell me about New Orleans's emergence as the "Hollywood of the South" and its $1.3 billion movie industry.

"A lot of people come down here and have no idea how many things are filmed here," he said. "It's the third most popular location after Los Angeles and New York."

He rattles off a half-dozen productions either in the works or starting later this year. Will Ferrell is in town with Zach Galifianakis, filming "Dog Fight" (recently renamed "The Campaign") and taking some time off during Mardi Gras to serve as King Bacchus. And "Now You See Me," a thriller starring Woody Harrelson and Morgan Freeman, recently started production.

After scooping up the other passengers, we take off toward Canal Street. Michelle provides historical background in conjunction with the film trivia that Jonathan spouts, and starts filling us in on what residents call "the neutral grounds," known elsewhere as medians. The grassy areas in the middle of the streets were the meeting ground for the French Creoles and the Americans after the Louisiana Purchase, she explains as we pull up to the rails where Vivien Leigh, as Blanche DuBois, famously searched for the streetcar named Desire. (Which is still in operation, Michelle adds. It's No. 922.)

Jonathan leads us on a winding path through the narrow streets of the French Quarter, pointing out Tennessee Williams's house, the wrought-iron balcony where Elvis Presley sang in "King Creole" and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, the old dive bar where Melanie Griffith grabs a cocktail in "Crazy in Alabama."

The couple also offer entertaining snippets completely unrelated to the film industry, explaining where to get a traditional New Orleans Pimm's Cup (the Napoleon), where to hear the best jazz in the city (the bars on Magazine Street) and where to get a $10 haircut and a shot on Monday nights (the Royal Street Inn). These insider tips make me want to jump out of the van and soak up all the city has to offer. Then a clip of "Runaway Jury" starts playing, and Jonathan and Michelle have my attention once again.

Personal Post .A trip through the Garden District to see Benjamin Button's house and the graveyard in "Double Jeopardy" winds down the tour, and Jonathan opens the floor to questions. This part can get complicated, he says, as fellow film enthusiasts typically quiz him on obscure flicks with ties to the city. Which is why he's seen them all, including the bad ones, such as the second "Candyman" movie and anything starring a vampire.

Today he fields some fairly tame questions on "Runaway Jury." Yes, it was entirely filmed in Louisiana. No, you can't get into the courtrooms.

As I leave the van, I find myself plotting a trip to Congo Square to further inspect one of the locations in "Ray," and then to the Napoleon for a cool drink. Which is exactly what Jonathan and Michelle hoped I'd do.

"One of our goals is really to get people out and show them the city," Michelle says. "There are so many things to do."

Joining friends for brunch, I start recounting my newly acquired knowledge of the Big Easy, telling them where Sandra Bullock's vacation house is, that Jonathan had pointed out Mos Def (a.k.a., more recently, Yasiin Bey) walking down the street and that I think we should try the $10 haircut/shot thing. They listen raptly, and I begin to understand why the Rays were shocked that no one had thought to set up their kind of tour before.

New Orleans Movie Tours

800-979-3370 (tickets)

504-520-9747 (info)

Two-hour tours depart from the French Quarter most days at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Adults $39, children 4-12 $29. Advance purchase required.