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Books: Tracking vampires in North Louisiana

HBO's True Blood crew shoots in North Louisiana, where author Charlaine
Harris' vampire series is set

by Cheré Coen

A synthetic blood created by the Japanese


has allowed vampires to come out of the
coffin, so to speak, and a few have begun to
mainstream. Telepathic waitress Sookie
Stackhouse of Bon Temps, Louisiana, falls
for a former Confederate soldier — now the
living dead — while murders of vampire-
loving women take place around her.
Such is the premise of the popular HBO
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series, True Blood, based on the best-selling


books by Mississippi-born Charlaine Harris
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and produced by Alan Ball of Six Feet Under


fame. Sticking to the integrity of the
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paranormal novels, Ball sets the series in a


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North Louisiana locale and has filmed


exterior shots around Shreveport and
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Mansfield. Photo by Cheré Coen


“Most of the film was shot in the Los Angeles Roseneath Plantation on State Road 5 in DeSoto
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area,” said Arlena Acree, director of film, Parish serves as a modern vampire’s countryside
media and entertainment for the city of home in the HBO series True Blood.
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Shreveport. “They filmed the exteriors of Roseneath Plantation in Keatchie, downtown Shreveport
in an old home that was burned (in the Oct. 19 episode), downtown Mansfield and driving scenes
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around Shreveport.”
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Bill Compton, the vampire of the series and love interest of Sookie, lives in a plantation house
that belonged to his family in the 19th century when he was human. He returns to Bon Temps to
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reclaim the estate as the only living (relatively speaking) descendant.


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The home used in the series is actually Roseneath Plantation, located on State Road 5 between
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Gloster and Kingston, just south of Shreveport in DeSoto Parish. With its Greek Revival
architecture, Roseneath was built around the 1840s by the Means family and is now on the
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Historic Register.
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Most of the original furniture exists in the house, which isn’t open to the public, plus original oil
paintings of the family are still on the walls, Acree explained. Even family records and old books
line the home’s bookshelves.

“It’s like going back in time,” Acree said.

Plus, there are a few paranormal elements to Roseneath that aren’t associated with True Blood.

“It’s scary in itself. It’s supposed to be haunted. The rooms upstairs are really cold and very
creepy,” Acree said.

In the Oct. 19 episode, a “nest” of vampires are burned by vigilantes. This building existed in
downtown Shreveport but is part of a 20-acre plot that will become the city’s new film studio and
city officials allowed the True Blood crew to burn it down.
“It’s nothing now,” Acree said of the former blue house once a vampire home. “It’s a vacant lot
now.”

True Blood received critical acclaim and high ratings since its debut Sept. 7. HBO has renewed
the series for a second season and production should begin early next year, according to a story
in The Hollywood Reporter.

Season two will air next summer. That’s good news for Louisiana, which has seen a dramatic rise
in film production during the last decade because of film tax incentives.

“The whole state’s busy,” Acree said by phone, a day after she scouted north Louisiana for two
studios and one major independent film company.

Upcoming works by Charlaine Harris:

May: From Dead to Worse, eighth Sookie Stackhouse novel


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June: The Julius House, fourth Aurora Teagarden mystery

August: Dead Over Heels, fifth Aurora Teagarden


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October: Paperback edition of Ice Cold Grave, third Harper Connelly novel. Wolfsbane and
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Mistletoe, second anthology edited by Charlaine and Toni L.P. Kelner. Blood Lite, an anthology of
humorous horror stories presented by the Horror Writers Association
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November: Shakespeare’s Christmas, reprint of the third Lily Bard book


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December: Usual Suspects, anthology featuring Harris, Carole Nelson Douglas, Simon R. Green
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