John Howell’s Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Movie people become temporary neighbors

The new neighbors moved in next door in New Orleans. They are renting Frank’s house. Like the couple before them they are movie people. Frank has made connections among movie makers flocking to New Orleans. He rents his furnished house, no doubt for a premium.

The couple before rented for only one month. They left early each morning and came home late. I never saw them during my visits, only their car.

Mark and Rose are the new couple. They have rented the house through July. They own a movie lighting company in Shrevesport and travel between New Orleans and California.

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They are working on a movie called “I Love You Phillip Morris” starring Jim Carey. It’s scheduled to be released next February, according to what I could find on the web.

Mark and Rose brought their two dogs, Lisa Marie and Ruby, the former a beautiful redbone-looking hound whose right front leg has been amputated, the latter a bassett hound acquired, Rose told Rosemary, to keep Lisa Maria happy. They had originally named the larger hound Elvis, Rose said, when they adopted her from the pound. When Elvis turned out to be a her they changed it to Lisa Marie.

These movie lighting folks work long hours also, but they are home on these late afternoons of increasing daylight and we visit across the back fence.

On Friday they’d been on location somewhere way across town, Rose told us.

How do you figure out where a scene is going to be filmed, my wife asked her.

If you’ve got a house or property that you think would make a good set, you take photos and send them in to the state film commission, Rose told us. Location directors review the photos. If they find one they like, they will contact the owner and pay big bucks to use your property, she explained.

Meanwhile, no one’s returned to the house on our west side since Katrina. Family members whose widowed mother formerly lived there have used it to occasionally house their animals, but the widow lady herself has never returned.

Lots left alone in New Orleans quickly revert to jungle. This one is no exception. I spent more time than I would have liked last weekend removing the Cat’s Claw vine from the fence that separates our backyards.

In the foliage grows more varieties of plant eating caterpillars than I like to think about. Snails also. We’ve learned that folks who tell you that beer in bowls is the best solution to getting rid of snails have not done battle with the hordes that we’re facing. It may drown some, but there are always more breeding in the abundant undergrowth that is fast taking over.

That’s the weekend gossip from Laurel Street, where life just gets curiouser and curiouser.