It’s always fascinating to peel back the curtain of the film industry and learn about the people and places that brought such poignant stories to life. The South boasts myriad film sites that set the stage for cinematic classics, from graveyards to historic plantations and 1950s cafes. When travelers stop by these attractions, they get to experience the romantic or haunting ambiance that captured the imaginations of film producers and often learn fun facts about the making of the films.
Next time you head south for a trip, be sure to look out for these iconic film and television locations.
New Orleans Cemeteries
Nicknamed the Cities of the Dead, the famous cemeteries of New Orleans trace nearly 300 years of history, providing a sinister setting of ancient mausoleums and statues surrounded by ornate wrought-iron fences.
“The tombs are all aboveground and very, very old,” said Kristian Sonnier, vice president of communications and publics relations at the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “There’s a certain degree of what people call noble rot, which makes them very photogenic, especially if you’re trying to capture a haunting mood.”
The oldest operating cemetery in New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 draws a significant number of tourists. It contains the famous tomb of Marie Laveau, the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans,” as well as a nine-foot-tall stone pyramid that actor Nicolas Cage purchased as his future burial marker. One of the earliest and most notable films shot in this cemetery was the 1969 cult classic “Easy Rider,” which featured a controversial psychedelic sequence among the gravesites that led the archdiocese to ban all future filming at the site, except for documentaries and educational programs.
More recently, the 1994 fantasy film “Interview With a Vampire,” starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, featured one of the cast-iron tombs in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 as the vampire Lestat’s tomb. In 1999, the suspense thriller “Double Jeopardy” also shot a chilling scene in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1; in that film, Ashley Judd’s character is knocked unconscious and locked in a casket.