By Times Staff
Natchitoches is part of the state’s Main Street Program, a part of the El Camino Real Trail, and the Trail of Lights… now you can add them to Louisiana’s newest promotional effort, the “Film Trail.” There are 22 movie and television show locations throughout the state, plus four regional film trails, highlighted on the new website. The website is hosted by the La. Dept. of Culture, Recreation and Tourism The Film Trail runs from New Orleans, where Elvis Presley’s “King Creole” was filmed, to Arcadia where A&Es two-part TV movie, “Bonnie and Clyde, was filmed, to Natchitoches, the home of “Steel Magnolias.” “The Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau (NCVB) is extremely proud to be a part of this trail. We have always made sure our visitors knew of our experience in the movie industry,” said Kelli West, NCVB marketing and communications coordinator said. Since this is such a new program, officials said the Dept. of Culture, Recreation and Tourism is in the process of sending them marketing and promotional material on the Film Trail.
More than 2,500 films have been shot in Louisiana. Although you may not be familiar with “Creature”, “Red River Ode” or “The Ninth” but you’ve probably heard of “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “12 Years a Slave”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Pelican Brief” and “Monster’s Ball”. Or how about, “Blaze”, staring Paul Newman, filmed in Winnfield, “The Horse Soldiers” starring John Wayne, filmed in the Clarence area, “The Blob:, filmed in Abbeville or “All The Kings Men”, starring Sean Penn, filmed in New Orleans. Louisiana has had its share of stars visit the state. Explore some of the most iconic movies in history and imagine Tom Cruise, Dolly Parton, Brad Pitt, Charlton Heston, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, John Ford, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, and Jessica Simpson in those same spaces. You can’t forget about the works of New Orleanians John Goodman, Ellen DeGeneres, or Pineville’s Faith Ford. Louisiana, nicknamed “Hollywood South”, has long been at the forefront of the film industry. With her exotic swamps and bayous, imposing plantation locations and unrivaled cityscapes, Louisiana has been cast as a leading lady for over a century. New Orleans opened the first indoor-seated theater in 1896 and when “Tarzan of the Apes” appeared on film (1918) and Morgan City was the jungle. The movie premiered at the Broadway Theatre in New York and became an instant box office hit. It was one of the first six films to earn over $1 million, a significant amount in 1918. New Orleans and other south Louisiana sites make up 15 of the map’s electronic pins. The one for New Orleans links to “King Creole” with a French Quarter address where some scenes were shot.