June 5, 2010

Hello Louisiana: A Musical Travel Film

Bossler couple's Louisiana film

It is sometimes said that your reflection is best seen though another pair of eyes. When it comes to Louisiana and all it has to offer, that adage proves especially true for Monty and Marsha Brown of Bossier City.

Monty. a native of Doncaster, England, and Marsha, from upstate New York, love Louisiana. They love it so much they've written and produced a film about their adopted state just so others can understand all they have come to appreciate.

"Hello Louisiana" is a travelugue written for the novice as well as perpetual learners, says Marsha Brown. "'It is informative and humorous and fun. You can't help but tap your toes and you can't help but learn about Louisiana."

For these two wandering minstrels. the idea for a film came about while teaching a school music program. "'We got a grant through the state arts program to teach kids about their own music ... and we kind of expanded on that," Marsha Brown says.

It also seems, she says, that many adults living here all their lives knew little about their own state. "The film shows so much more of our state than what everyone knows," she says.

Starting in the northwest parishes, you learn Natchitoches is the oldest European settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. You witness a baptism in the Cane River and discover how bousillage - a mixture of mud and moss - worked quite well as an early form of housing insulation.

In Bienville Parish you join in on an alligator hunt, see the roadway where Bonnie and Clyde met their end and retrace the steps of Louisiana Hayride legends.

Cajun Country introduces you to Floyd Soileau and his Flat Town (Ville Platte) record shop, Fred's in Mamou, where dancing starts early on Saturday mornings and the history of the forced exile of the Acadian people from Nova Scotia.

Industry row is seen as you cross the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge and into the world of Louisiana's famous — and infamous — politics. River Road plantations look out on tall rows of sugar cane and city-sized refineries.

New Orleans brings us back to the familiar pre-Katrina imagery of Mardi Gras. Jackson Square and the French Quarter as seen from a ferry boat while traveling across the river to Algiers Point.

"Within the film there is a lot of well researched information," Marsha Brown says. "Louisiana is a diverse and interesting place and this film serves to show others how special it is, while reminding us just how lucky we are to call Louisiana home. We are quite proud of it."

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