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Upcoming Events

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"One Note at a Time"

Aug 28 - 28, 2015
"One Note at a Time," a feature length documentary by director Renee… more

A Louisiana Parlor:…

Aug 28 - Oct 11, 2015
This exhibition is in celebration of the acquisition of a superb Rococo Revival… more

COOLinary New Orleans…

Aug 28 - 31, 2015
It is going to be a delicious summer!  During the month of August, enjoy… more

Global Café presents…

Aug 28 - 28, 2015
Join us at Global Cafe in Chalmette for classical pianist Ronald Joseph. … more

Joy Productions…

Aug 28 - 29, 2015
Joy Productions and Jonathan Mares Productions present KATRINA: MOTHER-IN-LAW… more

Longue Vue House and…

Aug 28 - Oct 11, 2015
For the 10th Anniversary of the storm, Longue Vue will commemorate the revival… more

Louisiana SPCA’s…

Aug 28 - 31, 2015
In memory of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana SPCA is… more

Morris Bart Presents…

Aug 28 - 28, 2015
Mark your calendars! Lil Wayne and special guests will be in Champions Square… more

New Orleans Museum…

Aug 28 - 30, 2015
New Orleans Museum Month, now in its second year, is a collaboration between… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Aug 28 - Sep 7, 2015
Ten Years Gone brings together six artists whose work engages with the broad… more

NOBA Hosts…

Aug 28 - Sep 26, 2015
The New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) in partnership with Chalmette… more

NOBA's tuition-free…

Aug 28 - Sep 25, 2015
Beginning this weekend, the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance, along with other NOBA… more

The Foundation…

Aug 28 - 31, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is thrilled to present Botanical Explorations, new work… more

The Historic New…

Aug 28, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Katrina Decade:…

Aug 28, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Sweat Social…

Aug 28 - Dec 20, 2015
Designed for wellness travelers visiting New Orleans, the Sweat Social offers… more

Abita Springs Opry at…

Aug 29 - 29, 2015
Two bands - Three Hours - Five Saturdays First band plays approx 12 noon to… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Aug 29 - Oct 4, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Aug 29 - Oct 4, 2015
Join us for Ashe to Amen: the Enduring Spirituality of People of African… more

Foundation for…

Aug 29 - 29, 2015
The Katrina 10 Commemorative Parade will begin at approximately 5:15PM on… more

"One Note at a Time"

Aug 28 - 28, 2015
"One Note at a Time," a feature length documentary by director Renee… 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)

www.nolamovies.com

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.

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