Tarantino film to shut River Road next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2012



EDGARD – Locations within St. John the Baptist Parish will once again serve as sets for a major motion picture in production in the New Orleans area as a film crew descends on plantation homes in Edgard.

Areas surrounding Evergreen and Whitney Plantations will be used in the production of “Django Unchained,” a Quentin Tarantino film about a freed slave turned bounty hunter who sets out to free his still enslaved wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. The cast includes Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Johnson. The film will have the feel of an old Western according to blog entries regarding the production. It is scheduled for release in theaters by Christmas 2012.

Coy St. Pierre, film coordinator for the River Parishes Tourism Commission, said the production has already spent a substantial amount of money in the parish reserving Evergreen, burying power lines that run along River Road and prepping surrounding land for upcoming filming. St. Pierre said some of the prepping includes the “installation” of cotton plants on what was once a large sugarcane field in front of Evergreen.

“They bought out the cane field, and they have spent the past month or so setting up the cotton field,” St. Pierre said. “It’s not even being grown. The cotton is being attached to twigs with wires and glue and then stuck into the ground.”

St. Pierre said the cotton planting has caused a bit of confusion for passersby perplexed by the new crop.

“The plantation has been getting calls about it asking if they are experimenting with cotton since it isn’t typically grown around here,” St. Pierre said. “There has been a lot of interest.”

St. Pierre said filming at the plantation began Thursday and is expected to continue in and around the area until at least March 9. She said daytime and evening filming around Evergreen and Whitney will force the closure of River Road near the homes starting Monday.

“The entire road will be shut down from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday until Thursday,” St. Pierre said. “Closures will be intermittent after that from March 7 until March 9. Residents have been notified and will be able to get to their homes as needed, but drivers need to make a note of the closures.”

St. Pierre said alternate routes include the Reserve-Edgard ferry as well as Louisiana Highway 3127, which can be accessed via the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

St. Pierre said “Django Unchained” is the first motion picture production to come to the St. John Parish area since the departure of the TNT cop show “Memphis Beat” last year. She said the tourism commission has gotten interest from several more productions that could descend on the area between now and June.

“The companies that come to film out here like to be out by the early summer before the peak of hurricane season,” St. Pierre said. “The usually return in the fall, but they don’t want to be caught by a storm.”