Tour offers visitors a special screening of New Orleans

Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:11pm EST
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - It's been more than 50 years since Blanche DuBois of the New Orleans-set play "A Streetcar Named Desire" wistfully declared that she had "always depended on the kindness of strangers."

Now, a local tour service brings strangers close to settings where the lives of DuBois and later fictional characters, such as Benjamin Button (portrayed by Brad Pitt) and "GI Joe" Colton (Bruce Willis), played out in dramatic style.

New Orleans Movie Tours owner Jonathan Ray personally escorts visitors to film locations and other movie-related spots. Sites related to 30 movies are now on the tour, he said.

"I want to be able to answer every question about every movie ever filmed here," Ray told Reuters.

He and his wife Michelle began the tours seven months ago with the idea of giving visitors a cameraman's view of New Orleans by highlighting its history as a filming location.

Twice a day, Jonathan Ray drives as many as 10 passengers around the city in a van equipped with individual video monitors.

At each location along the two-hour route, Ray shows clips from a movie or TV episode filmed at the site and offers anecdotes related to the location.

They visit a spot near the foot of Canal Street as they watch video of Vivien Leigh, starring in the 1951 film version of "Streetcar," stepping off a train and asking directions to a street called Elysian Fields.   Continued...