‘NCIS: New Orleans’: Can Tourists Visit the Set?
The entire NCIS franchise is an entity in and of itself. Each show — the mothership, Los Angeles, and New Orleans — holds high ratings and steady viewership. That said, NCIS: New Orleans has a big advantage over the others, being filmed on-location in The Big Easy. Can tourists visit if they’re in the area?
Why ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ is different than other iterations in the franchise
The original NCIS and the Los Angeles version may have storylines that revolve around other big cities (like Washington D.C.) but are both filmed on sound stages in Southern California. The area is a popular one for many movies and TV shows due to its versatile landscape.
For interior scenes, the shows utilize a set in Valencia Studios in Santa Clarita, California. Other exterior shots are filmed in different landmarks across SoCal such as Van Nuys Airport.
At times, NCIS has managed access to somewhere like the real White House for a few scenes — something not easily accessible for anyone.
However, NCIS: New Orleans is filmed onset and on location in New Orleans, Louisiana. This gives the series a different flavor than the other two, incorporating local cuisine, musicians, and authentic NOLA happenings into each episode.
Here’s what Scott Bakula loves most about the show
“You come and meet these people and understand why they’ve been here for hundreds of years,” Bakula said. “I love music and food and this town is remarkable in both those aspects; I’ve never been in any place where people were so proud of their city.”
As a musician himself, Bakula’s particularly fond of the music scenes.
“I’m a piano player and singer and I love jazz,” he said. “That by itself to be in the place where that music was birthed is kind of mind-boggling to me, to be where all these people sang and played.”
He even executive produced the docu-series, New Orleans, Here and Now.
“It’s kind of great being down here now, 10 years after Katrina, and getting to know so many people as I have,” he said. “Everyone here has a story and it’s pretty remarkable to see just a few of the pieces that have been done.”
Though the star admitted he’s never grown accustomed to the humidity, he noted how incredible it is to showcase the city through NCIS: New Orleans.
“The fabric of the city permeates every side of the show,” Bakula said. “The city is like another character in our show.”
Can tourists visit the set of ‘NCIS: New Orleans’?
According to NOLA.com, the show brings attention to the infamous St. Ann Street (between Bourbon and Royal). The entranceway is used for “establishing shots” and “the occasional exterior scene.”
Victoria Paul, the series’ Los Angeles-based production designer made sure every part of the production design felt as authentic as the city itself. She previously revealed to NOLA.com why they chose St. Ann’s saying, “it’s a great starting point.”
“There’s a building next to it that has five lovely tall windows and a balcony and a second floor. The ‘looks’ up and down the street are wonderful. So we took that front wall, and from there on back we call that our own.”
It only took “four weeks from plywood to ‘Rolling!'” Paul said about the construction of the interior of the building. “Seven days a week, a large part of that 24 hours a day. Paint, especially, ran two crews, because the paint department is also responsible for plaster. So all of those bricks, all of those walls, were created by super-talented painters and plasterers.”
That said, anyone visiting New Orleans may want a sneak peek of where Pride (Bakula) and the gang get together. Shots of the outside may be possible, however, the interior soundstage is “strictly off-limits to tourists.”
NCIS: New Orleans airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CBS.