Louisiana in the Spotlight - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Louisiana in the Spotlight

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"LA" is booming with projects in the film and TV industry - and no, we're not talking about the LA in California, we're talking about Louisiana! So grab some popcorn and enjoy the show, as News Channel Fives Natalie North takes an in depth look into our local film industry...

Meet heather fox. She originally from Pineville and now carries the title of miss smoked meat festival queen 2012.

The festival and pageant was in the spotlight for a new reality t-v show that has cameras rolling in central Louisiana.

"My mom thought it was going to be my big break!"-Heather Fox

A big break and big surprise!

Alexandria's Erin Ledet and others will be featured in a new show for the lifetime network called "bayou beauty queens."

And, as these festival queens roamed around the grounds in Ville Platte on a sweltering summer day, the cameras were never far behind.

"You never think anyone is going to film you, but then I showed up to compete for the Smoked Meat Pageant and here they were."-Heather Fox

"It's about all girls in Louisiana being bayou beauty queens. They wanted to follow us around and see how pageants really are."-Erin Ledet

Both were glad to give a behind the scenes look into the pageant world for the cameras.

They hope the show will give its viewers a special look at life in central Louisiana.

"It shows a great spotlight for Alexandria, so everyone can see how beautiful the city really is, and how much you can do in such a small town."-Erin Ledet

"What I really like is that a lot of people are seeing a different side of Louisiana and I really hope that everybody takes a positive look at the state of Louisiana that it brings more tourism, and more people come to see us and put more money into the state's economy."-Heather Fox

And when the TV and film industry comes to Cenla - its brings with it big bucks for our local economy.

Bill Hess is the chief of economic development for the city of Alexandria. He says the "Cajun beauty queens" show is a great example of how central Louisiana can benefit from the limelight.

"That type of an impact is pretty significant. For every two weeks worth of time, they will stay in our hotels, they eat our food, they buy our gas, rent our vehicles."-Bill Hess

Projects like these play a starring role in the 1.4 billion dollars spent for video and film production in the state of Louisiana, this past year alone.

And that trend continues to grow-- with 130 projects already on the production schedule throughout the state. 

So, what makes Louisiana so popular for the t-v and film industry?

It adds up to dollars and cents, including tax credits of up to 35 percent on in-state expenditures.

Plus, the Cenla region can be attractive for t-v producers who may want a setting that's truly unique.

"Our nitch is our locations; we call them our virgin locations. Because unlike New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or Shreveport, where filming has occurred many times, the amount of filming that has taken place in central Louisiana has not been as great. So many of our locations have never been seen on film, which is a big plus for directors, they are looking for something new and fresh."-Bill Hess

With Cajun pawn stars, ghost hunters, and Cajun beauties taking center stage--- it's certainly full speed ahead for the reality t-v business in Louisiana.

"Where I see the future is definitely in television, in reality shows, no doubt about it. Returning for additional episodes, and I think that will continue on for at least the next 3 to 4 years."-Bill Hess

And whether heather fox decides to take the path to stardom or remain on the pageant circuit - this Pineville girl will always remember her roots.

"Go Rebs! I hope they have a successful football season."-Heather Fox

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