‘NCIS: New Orleans’: Cch Pounder Reveals the 1 ‘Frustrating’ Thing About Filming in NOLA
The beauty of having multiple NCIS shows is that fans can experience different areas of the country without leaving their living room. While NCIS: Los Angeles showcases the City of Angels, NCIS: New Orleans takes on a southern spin, featuring The Big Easy as its own fickle character. Actress, CCH Pounder, plays Dr. Loretta Wade on the NOLA version. Filming in a city like New Orleans, she reveals, isn’t always glamorous for one specific reason.
CCH Pounder is not from New Orleans, but she lives there now
CCH Pounder originally stems from Georgetown, British Guiana. The NCIS star was raised on a sugar plantation until she attended a boarding school in Britain. There, she found her love of theater, film, and acting, deciding to make a career out of it.
Pounder, who has dozens of projects credits that go back to 1979 with All That Jazz, only moved to New Orleans when offered the part of Dr. Wade. The hit NBC series is filmed on-location, utilizing the city’s vibrant setting as a backdrop.
As a NOLA resident, Pounder eventually launched a New Orleans Art Exhibit that celebrated black female power and beauty at Xavier University Art Gallery. She offered over 500 personal pieces for display.
“I’m a collector of what I call functional art — you go up and look at a piece, and you have a visceral reaction,” Pounder previously said in an interview with NOLA.com.
“You can’t explain it. It’s a function that’s very important to me. I’m not interested in just collecting a piece because an artist is important or a work is important. That doesn’t interest me at all.”
She continued, “It’s really a wonderful opportunity to expand one’s creativity with these students who would normally be with their mathematics and pharmaceutical classes,” Pounder said.
“I know that art expands the brain’s creativity, and I’m so glad they get to experience it.”
Why is filming in NOLA ‘frustrating’?
Any series that film on-location is bound to run into an issue or two. Pounder, who just recently renovated a 1925 home in Faubourg St. John, finds one aspect of the job “frustrating.”
“It’s the fact that you have a working river as your backdrop; you have an Air Force base as your backdrop. You have trains that actually really run for 10 minutes and the train is still going by,” she previously told Parade.
“There are things that you cannot pay for and there is an impromptuness of the city, which is frustrating but wonderful at the same time if you have the imagination to go there. Here comes the big, brass band down the street, and instead of being totally freaked out, just turn your cameras in that direction and get that backdrop.”
The realities of the big city can delay scenes. Pounder related the experience to her time on The Shield when the actors were interrupted by a fight in the background.
“Instead of saying ‘cut’, they just went, ‘Shoot the dogs’. You incorporate it into the scene. So every time something like that would happen, the expression ‘shoot the dogs’ came about.”
The actress said filming in New Orleans means that the situation happens a lot.
“It suddenly becomes incorporated into your scene because in the backdrop there is wind, rain, Mardi Gras beads being chucked at you, dancing bands, tap dancers, grifters, etcetera, and it just goes on and on and on, particularly if you’re shooting in the quarter.”
Why do so many choose NOLA for their projects? Some credit Brad Pitt
New Orleans has received the nickname “Hollywood South” for a reason. It’s quickly become a top destination for filmmakers and TV creators. Movies like Dallas Buyer’s Club and 12 Years a Slave both filmed in NOLA, along with many others. So what’s the appeal?
For one, ABC News reported that filmmakers “get a 30 percent tax break from the state of Louisiana, compared with the 20-25 percent offered in California and base of 20 percent in Georgia.”
Beyond that, many say Brad Pitt started the wave when his movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button filmed in NOLA post-Katrina. It’s something most actors and directors didn’t consider at the time.
“Brad Pitt really fought to bring Curious Case of Benjamin Button back to New Orleans after the storm,” Katherine Williams, the director of Film New Orleans in the New Orleans mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy said.
“They had planned on shooting it here and after the storm the studio was leary…I think he knew what it would mean for the city to showcase that it was dry and not underwater and open for business.”
There you have it. Pounder sometimes felt it all somewhat “frustrating,” at times, but many others treated the city as part of the project. NCIS: New Orleans mastered this over the seasons — after accepting the city may never sleep, so why not go with it?
NCIS: New Orleans returns to CBS on Sunday, February 16.