Hollywood South: La. Goes L.A.!

While Louisiana has gained a fantastic reputation as the film-making capital of the south, we’re increasingly garnering a reputation as a great spot for television filming as well. Thanks to some tax breaks put in place since 2002 and local businesses stepping up to develop the industry, we’re not just giving Hollywood a run for her money – we’re going after Los Angeles, too.

Some of the television shows filmed in Louisiana include:

  • Axe Men
  • Swamp People
  • Cajun Shrimpers
  • Ragin Cajun
  • True Blood
  • Bayou billionaires
  • My Big Redneck Vacation
  • Girls Guns and Gators
  • Cajun Pawn Stars
  • Billy the Exterminator

All that movie and television exposure is helping improve the tourism industry.

Butch Guchereau, owner of Cajun Country Swamp Tours in Breaux Bridge, said he has seen an increase in business since the tour opened about five years ago, and many visitors are from other states.

“A lot of people take a weekend trip from Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Washington,” he said. “They’re scattered all over the U.S. About three-fourths of the people who do tours are from out of state or out of the country.”

The state Office of Tourism has even created a miniature swamp habitat in New York City this month to capitalize on the popularity of the TV shows set in Louisiana’s swamplands.

The reason for the recent boom in Louisiana-based reality TV is two-fold, said Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne. Not only do reality shows filmed in Louisiana take advantage of the state’s TV and film tax credit program, but Louisiana has a rich culture that makes for great entertainment, he said.

“There’s no question it’s a combination of the two,” said Dardenne, who sponsored the original 2002 bill granting tax credits for television and film production in Louisiana.

As the Louisiana film industry continues to grow, colleges are offering film and media arts courses, and the University of New Orleans offers a Graduate level Concentration in Film Production.  While the current crop of reality shows feature a less sophisticated side of Louisiana, our film industry is proving to be very savvy indeed.