In the 1998 film “Primary Colors,” John Travolta plays Governor Jack Stanton, a Southern politician with many similarities to Bill Clinton. Stanton serves Thanksgiving dinner on the front lawn with his wife, played by Emma Thompson, at the Banning House in Wilmington, California. Built in 1863, the property was also seen in the 1992 Danny Aiello film “Ruby,” as well as the TV shows “Quantum Leap” and “Bronk.” The house currently operates as a museum and is open the the public.
LOCATION: 401 E M St, Wilmington, CA 90744
Late in the film, Stanton visits the home of Governor Fred Picker. Picker’s house was filmed at the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. The plantation is likewise open to public tours. This house and its distinct row of trees can actually be seen from the road of LA-18. However, you might find it difficult to stop and get a photo, as there is no parking along the street. The plantation was also famously used in the film “Interview With The Vampire.”
Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 western “Django Unchained” is set in various locations across the USA. The filming locations also span across several states, including California, Wyoming and Louisiana. In the opening of the film, Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is shown as a slave. The was filmed at Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California. Alabama Hills is a staple of old westerns, having been used in dozens of films, such as “How the West Was Won” and “The Gunfighter.” It appears in more modern films as well, such as “Iron Man,” “Tremors,” “Gladiator” and more.
LOCATION: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA 93545
Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, arrives with Django in the town of Daughtrey, Texas. This was actually filmed at Melody Ranch in Newhall, California. The sets are sometimes moved around at Melody, depending on the needs of the latest production. So it can be tricky matching up every shot, but there remains a lot of areas that do match up almost exactly. The same ranch is also briefly seen in the early scenes of Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood,” on the set of the fictional “Bounty Law.”
The two are first seen arriving into the town between these two buildings.
LOCATION: 24715 Oakcreek Ave, Newhall, CA 91321
They are seen passing this building.
They proceed down this main street, as the locals stare them down. This section has changed a bit from how it appeared in the film.
Schultz parks his wagon in front of the building on the left. Most of this area still looks the same as it did in the film.
The enter this saloon, where the bartender quickly runs out to fetch the sheriff. The doors were switched to swinging doors in the film. This same set was featured prominently in the TV show “Westworld,’ as the brothel where Thandie Newton’s character works.
After the bartender runs out, Schultz prepares some beer for himself and Django.
Here are some views from upstairs.
Dr. Schultz has a confrontation with the sheriff between these two buildings. The boardwalk on the left is where Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt sit for their “Bounty Law” interview at the beginning of “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood.”
The marshall, played by Tom Wopat, has a short standoff with Dr. Schultz and Django in front of these buildings, before Schultz reveals he is a bounty hunter with a valid warrant. Schultz and Django are also seen walking past these buildings earlier when they first entered the town.
Later in the film, Dr. Schultz and Django make their way to Tennessee. Django picks out a new set of clothes for himself at the Chattanooga Haberdashery. This was also filmed at Melody Ranch.
Unlike most movie ranches in Southern California, Melody Ranch does in fact offer tours to the public. However, the challenge is simply finding availability. The ranch is sometimes booked for months or years at a time, hosting such shows as “Deadwood,” “Westworld” and “Peaky Blinders,” as well as numerous films and commercials. With such high demand as a filming location, the opportunities for tours are quite limited and require much diligence or good timing.
In search of the Brittle Brothers, Schultz and Django make their way to a plantation owned by Big Daddy, played by Don Johnson, supposedly located in Tennessee. This was filmed at the Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana. The Evergreen Plantations is available for tours to the public. This main house can actually be seen from the road, but it is a busy road, so it’s not the safest area to try to grab photos. We recommend booking a tour, where you can also see other locations from the film not visible from the road.
LOCATION: 4677 LA-18, Edgard, LA 70049
The pair are seen entering through this front gate. The dirt trail leading to the house has since grown back over with grass.
There is a flashback scene of the Brittle Brothers beating Django’s wife Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington. This was filmed at the back of the Evergreen Plantation, where real housing communities were set up for slaves.
Django confronts the Brittle Brothers in this area, also located behind the main house at the Evergreen Plantation. John Brittle is about the beat a woman who is tied to the base of the tree located next to the white barn. After Django exacts his revenge, Dr. Schultz soon joins him at the scene.
As Django and Schultz gear up and mount their horses to go in search of Broomhilda, we are back at Melody Ranch. They first ride out of this building.
Candyland, the estate of Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, was a set constructed for the film. The exterior was built on the grounds of the Evergreen Plantation, which has since been removed. The interiors were filmed at Second Line Stages in New Orleans (800 Richard St, New Orleans, LA 70130).
Back in Lone Pine, where the opening of the film takes place, you’ll find the excellent Lone Pine Film History Museum. During the production, Tarantino would hold screenings for crew members at the museum’s screening room. At the completion of the film, Tarantino donated the dentist wagon of Dr. Schultz, where it is currently on display. If you have the opportunity, we highly recommend visiting the museum, which dives deep into the history of the many films shot in the Lone Pine area.
LOCATION: 701 S Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545
Also on display at the museum is a photo of Tarantino and the cast, as well as a signed copy of the script.
Here is a director’s chair from the film.
Over at Melody Ranch, they also have their own museum, known as the Melody Ranch Motion Pictures Studio Museum. The collection contains a mixture of memorabilia acquired by the owners over the years, as well as items donated by productions shot at the ranch. There is a small area focused on “Django Unchained.”
The history of The Manson Family and their victims is long and vast, scattered all across California and beyond, spanning through the heart of Hollywood, into the far reaches of the desert. We’ve previously we posted articles covering Spahn Ranch and Barker Ranch. Here we will take a look at many additional sites related to the history of The Family, in semi-chronological order. We do not endorse any of the crimes related to this subject matter. This article’s sole intention is to simply acknowledge the places where these events happened and show them as they stand today.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who would become the second member of The Manson Family and one of the most devoted, did not get along with her father from a young age. Not far from LAX airport, you’ll find the childhood home of Lynette.
LOCATION: 6511 W 82nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Of particular interest is the lamp post in front of the home. On the cement in front of it, Lynette scrawled her name as a child, which remains there to this day. Eventually Lynette ran away from home, leading her to Venice Beach, where she met a recently paroled Charles Manson.
When released from Terminal Island in San Pedro in 1967, Charles Manson headed north to the Bay Area. He played guitar at the UC Berkeley campus, where he would meet Mary Brunner, the first member of the Manson Family. Here is the famous Sather Gate at the Berkeley campus.
LOCATION: Sather Gate, Sather Rd, Berkeley, CA 94720
Just inside the gate is the courtyard area where Manson played his guitar and met Brunner. Here are some views of what the general area looks like today.
Mason became a resident of the famous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Fransisco during the “Summer of Love” in 1967, renting an apartment unit in this building. It was in San Francisco that he also met future family member Susan “Sadie” Atkins.
LOCATION: 636 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Around this same period, Bobby Beausoleil, who would later become involved in the first of the Manson Family murders, was also in San Francisco. He posed for a famous photo on the front stairs of this house, which at the time was occupied by underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Anger filmed portions of his short film “Invocation of My Demon Brother” at the house, which featured Bobby Beausoleil and Anton LaVey, with music by Mick Jagger.
LOCATION: 1198 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Here are the stairs where Bobby posed for his photo. While serving his sentence for his murder conviction, Beausoleil later composed the score to Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising,” after a score by Jimmy Page was rejected. You can read a bit more about this home in our separate article about the Kenneth Anger House.
Eventually Manson would make his way back down to Southern California. Susan Atkins joined Manson in his trek south, along with other Family members. Sadie worked as a stripper at the Candy Cat One in Chatsworth, California. The Candy Cat remained open for decades until 2017, when it finally closed its doors. You can still see the faded letters where the sign once was.
LOCATION: 21625 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Just across the street from the former Candy Cat One is The Munch Box, a staple of the San Fernando Valley that has been in business since 1956. Charles Manson used to sit and eat at The Munch Box, waiting for Sadie to finish her work shifts. A market also once stood in this area, which was one of the spots the women of the Manson Family would go digging through the dumpsters, looking for discarded food.
LOCATION: 21532 Devonshire St, Chatsworth, CA 91311
There are conflicting stories about how Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys came to know The Manson Family. The most common story is that he picked up members Patricia Krenwinkel and Ella Jo Bailey in 1968, who were hitchhiking, and brought them back to his place on Sunset Blvd. The story has been disputed, but what is known is that the Family began staying at Dennis Wilson’s home for a time. During this period, Wilson and Manson undertook some musical collaborations. Manson’s song “Cease to Exist” ended up being recorded under the name “Never Learn Not to Love” on The Beach Boys’ “20/20” album, though the sole songwriting credit went to Dennis Wilson.
Eventually the Family would overstay their welcome and Wilson split from them by selling the home. The house still stands, but it is fairly difficult to get a decent view. Fencing and trees surround the entire property along the street. Here is a view of the driveway gate.
LOCATION: 14400 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Here is a view within the property, when one of the gates was open.
Across the street on Will Rogers State Park Rd, the road goes up an incline, allowing for views over the fence. The trees still obscure most of the property though. It should be noted that parking is difficult here. Sunset Blvd is quite busy along this stretch and has no parking shoulder. You can go up Will Rogers State Park Rd, but the nearest parking area is at the top, meaning you’d have a long walk down and back up to return to your vehicle. Your best bet is to take one of the side roads in the vicinity, but many of them are private, so it can be tricky.
Here is a view of the horse stables at the property.
Both Charles Manson and Charles “Tex” Watson visited the famous Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood. Watson is said to have lived on the road just behind it for a time.
LOCATION: 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Members of the Family attended parties at the house of Harold True on multiple occasions. This is Harold’s former house, which was located directly next door to Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
LOCATION: 3267 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Over in Beverly Hills is the original home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, before they moved to Cielo Drive, where the fateful murders took place. It was here that they first met their maid, Winifred Chapman, who would continue working for them at the Cielo house and would have the unfortunate role of discovering the bodies the morning after the murders.
LOCATION: 1600 Summitridge Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Jay Sebring, another victim of the Manson Family, was a celebrity hair stylist prior to the murders who had connections all over Hollywood, including Warren Beatty and Bruce Lee. His hair salon could be found on Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles. The space remains a hair salon to this day, albeit under different ownership.
LOCATION: 725 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Sebring’s house could be found in Benedict Canyon, about a mile from Tate and Polanski’s house on Cielo.
LOCATION: 9860 Easton Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
In early 1969, Charles Manson rented a house in Canoga Park, where members of The Family stayed with him. They called the house the “Yellow Submarine,” due to its paint color. By this time, Manson had already discovered Spahn Ranch, but he felt it was too disorganized for musical recording and wanted to use the home as a studio. The Family’s time there would be brief and the house was eventually demolished. Today, an apartment complex stands in its place.
LOCATION: 21019 Gresham St, Canoga Park, CA 91304
The most well-known home of The Manson Family was of course Spahn Ranch in Chatsworth, California. This is where the murders were ordered. You can read much more detail about the history of Spahn Ranch in our article here.
LOCATION: Formerly 1200 Santa Susana Pass Rd, Chatsworth, CA 91311 (now defunct), nearest present address is 22601 Santa Susana Pass Rd., Chatsworth, CA 91311
The events that set the stage for the Tate-LaBianca murders really kicked into full motion in 1969 with the shooting of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe. Crowe had agreed to a drug deal with Charles “Tex” Watson, who burned him and kept the money. An angry Crowe called Spahn Ranch and asked for Charles. The name mix-up put him on the phone with Charles Manson, rather than Watson. Crowe threatened to harm Watson’s girlfriend if the situation wasn’t fixed, so Manson headed to his apartment in the middle of Hollywood. There things escalated and Manson ended up shooting Lotsapoppa. Leaving under the belief he had killed Crowe, when Manson watched the news, he saw reports of a murdered member of the Black Panther party. Crowe had in fact survived the shooting and was not a member of the Panthers. However, Manson erroneously believed he was on the hook for murder and that the Panthers would soon visit Spahn Ranch seeking retaliation. Manson also believed that Watson owed him big for having taken care of his situation.
The apartment where Lotsapoppa was shot has long since been demolished. It is now a parking lot for the famous Magic Castle.
LOCATION: 7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
More trouble would soon come when Gary Hinman set up a drug deal with a biker gang through Bobby Beausoleil. While Beausoleil denies ever being a member of the Manson Family, he held many ties with them. After the bikers claimed the drugs were bad, they demanded their money back from Beausoleil. Beausoleil went to the house of Gary Hinman, along with Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins and held Hinman captive. Believing he had received a large inheritance, they demanded money from him. Hinman denied having money and also disputed that the drugs were bad. Eventually Charles Manson would visit the house as well, slicing Hinman with a sword.
Bobby Beausoleil would then murder Gary Hinman, with words written in blood on the walls, in an attempt to make it look like a crime committed by the Black Panthers. Not long after, Beausoleil was found asleep in Hinman’s car and charged with murder. Here is the former Hinman house, which has since been remodeled and is obscured by trees and shrubs. There used to be stairs leading up to the house, which have also since been removed.
LOCATION: 964 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290
With Beausoleil arrested for murder, the events fell into place for the first night of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Many members of the Family have claimed the murders were intended to appear as copycat crimes, to make it appear as if Hinman’s killer was still on the loose, thus resulting in Beausoleil’s release. Others have disputed this motive, however.
Steven Parent lived at this house in El Monte, California. Parent had the misfortune of trying to sell William Garretson a clock radio on the night of the murders on August 8, 1969. Garretson was staying in a guest house at the Tate residence when Parent paid him a visit. As Parent was leaving, he encountered Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian. Watson shot and killed Parent in his car in the driveway.
LOCATION: 11214 Bryant Rd, El Monte, CA 91731
Earlier the same night, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski had dinner at the El Coyote restaurant. The Mexican restaurant was a favorite of Tate’s. It would unfortunately turn out to be their final meal.
LOCATION: 7312 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Here is a view of the front entrance of El Coyote, which remains in business to this day.
This is alleged to be the table where the group ate their dinner.
This is the entrance to the private road of Cielo Drive. Much of Cielo is actually a public road. It is only the portion leading up to the houses that is marked private. It is at the foot of the private road where the killers parked their car, heading up the rest of the way on foot in darkness.
LOCATION: Formerly 10500 Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (now defunct), changed to 10066 Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
While that portion of Cielo Drive is private, the road directly across the street, Bella Drive, is not. It too goes up an incline and from the top you get a clear view of all the homes along Ceilo Dr. The house furthest to the left in front of the city skyline is where the Tate/Polanki residence once stood. The killers’ original plan was to murder the occupants of every house along the block. The Tate murders proved more difficult than they had anticipated, however, so they abandoned plans to enter the other homes. While neighbors did hear sounds the night of the murders, the canyons echoed sounds and it was difficult to place where the noises came from.
LOCATION: Cielo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, as seen from 1436 Bella Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Here is a better view of where the Tate/Polanski home once stood, taken from Beverly View Drive. The home has since been demolished and a mansion belonging to “Full House” creator Jeff Franklin stands in it’s place.
After the murders, the killers traveled about 1.5 miles up Benedict Canyon Drive and stopped at this home on Portola Drive. Here they used a hose to wash off the victims’ blood. However, the homeowner discovered them and wrote down their license plate, which would become a heavily incriminating piece of evidence during the murder trials.
LOCATION: 9870 Portola Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The killers then made their way further up Benedict Canyon. They pulled over to this section of the road, across the street from 2901 Benedict Canyon, where they tossed the clothes they wore during the murders. In 1969, this area was a wide shoulder where cars could pull over. Now a guard rail blocks it, but there is still a strip of land there with enough space to fit a car. Based on descriptions later provided by Susan Atkins, which described the area as mountain on one side and a ravine on the other, a local news station recreated the drive from Cielo, traveling at a moderate speed and changing their clothes. When they finished, they pulled over to the nearest shoulder they could find, leading them to the precise location where the clothes were tossed.
LOCATION: 2901 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Here’s another view of the area.
Upon making the discovery, the reporter headed across the street to notify the police.
The killers then made their way over to Beverly Glen Blvd, where they tossed the gun. They believed this area to be an empty canyon where the weapon would not likely be recovered. From the road above, this is the view they would have seen. It was not an empty canyon, however. At the bottom of the hill was a neighborhood and the gun was tossed into one of the back yards.
LOCATION: Beverly Glen Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (near 3627 Longview Valley Rd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423)
This is the home where the gun was discovered.
LOCATION: 3627 Longview Valley Rd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Here you can see a view of Beverly Glen Blvd in the distance, where the gun was tossed as the killers passed.
Not content with one night of murders or with how they were carried out, Charles Manson decided to accompany the group for a second night of killings. After roaming around in search of a suitable site, they made their way over to the neighborhood of Harold True and eventually selected the house next door, belonging to Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. The group consisted of Manson, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Steve “Clem” Grogan. Manson entered the LaBianca house and tied up the victims, telling them they were only there to rob the place and would not be harmed.
He then returned to the car with Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet and sent Watson, Krenwinkel and Van Houten in to do the killings. He told them to hitchhike back to Spahn Ranch and he would take the remaining group out to perform a different set of murders. Here is what the LaBianca house looks like today. A gate and garage have been added and trees planted to obscure the view. Much like the Cielo house, the address was also slightly changed.
LOCATION: Formerly 3301 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, changed to 3311 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Manson then took the second group to this gas station in Sylmar and had Linda Kasabian dispose of Rosemary LaBianca’s wallet in the restroom. Here is the side of the building where the restroom once was. During the trial, the prosecution alleged that this gas station was chosen in a predominantly black area, as to implicate black killers and bring about a race war called “Helter Skelter.” One of the few blows against the “Helter Skelter” motive came when the defense noted that Sylmar was not a predominantly black area.
LOCATION: 12881 Encinitas Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342
Manson then walked over to this Denny’s and ordered a chocolate shake. The Denny’s still stands there today.
LOCATION: 12861 Encinitas Ave, Sylmar, CA 91342
Manson, Grogan, Kasabian and Atkins then went to this apartment building on Venice Beach, looking to commit the next murder. They came here because Kasabian remembered a resident there she disliked. After knocking on a door and failing to find the correct apartment unit, which Kasabian later claimed to have done intentionally to avoid more killings, the group abandoned plans to commit murder here. Upon making their way down the stairwell to exit, Susan Atkis deficated in the building before leaving.
LOCATION: 1011 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
The morning after the LaBianca murders, the family arrived at the house. Noticing some unusual activity; the fact that the LaBianca’s boat had been left out and the curtains were drawn closed, they went across the street to phone the police.
LOCATION: 3306 Waverly Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
In the wake of the murders, The Manson Family fled to Barker Ranch in Death Valley. It was here that Charles Manson was eventually captured. You can read our article about Barker Ranch here.
LOCATION: Just off of Goler Wash Rd, Death Valley National Park, Panamint, CA 93592 (easiest access is via Ballarat, CA, GPS coordinates: 35°51′34.57″N 117°5′18.76″W)
While at the Sybil Brand Institute, Susan Atkins confessed to a cell mate named Virginia Graham about the Tate Murders. Graham in turn shared what Atkins had told her with homocide detectives, which eventually helped lead to the indictment of Charles Manson. The prison shut down in 1997, but today the grounds are still owned by the Los Angeles sherrif’s office, where it is used by warehouse companies and for filming purposes. Walking the grounds, however, it still very much feels like a prison.
LOCATION: 4500 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063
The trial for the Tate/LaBianca murders was held at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles.
LOCATION: 211 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Members of the Manson Family who were not incarcerated sat at this corner on Broadway and Temple, speaking with media throughout the duration of the trail. After Manson shaved his head and carved an X into his forehead, the members followed suit.
LOCATION: Intersection of N Broadway / W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
After Manson was convicted and sent to Folsom Prison, Family members Sandra Good and Lynette Fromme moved into the attic unit of this house in Sacramento, in order to be nearer to him.
LOCATION: 1725 P St, Sacramento, CA 95811
There used to be an outdoor starcase on the side of the house leading to the attic unit, which has since been removed.
Over at the Historic Sacramento City Cemetery, a famous photo of Lynette Fromme and Sandra Good wearing robes was taken for a German magazine at this grave plot. The gravestone is marked Heintz at plot B83 276. It actually sits very near the entrance at the intersection of Broadway and Ninth St. From there it can be found 2 plots forward, 4 plots to the left.
LOCATION: 1000 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818
On September 5, 1975, Lynette Fromme left her house on P Street dressed in a red robe and came to the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. She stood at this tree and aimed a gun at then President Gerald Ford, who was walking past. Secret Service members immediately subdued her with no shots fired. For her crime, she served 34 years in prison before being paroled in 2009. The easiest way to reach the tree where the incident happened is from the intersection of 12th St and L St. Ford was leaving the Senator Hotel and crossed that intersection, heading for the California State Capitol building.
LOCATION: 1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814
The final tenant of the original Cielo Drive residence before it was demolished was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. When Trent relocated from Los Angeles to New Orleans, he took with him one piece of the Cielo property; the infamous door that had “Pig” scrawled in Sharon Tate’s blood by Susan Atkins. Trent purchased this former funeral home in New Orleans in 1995 and converted it into a recording studio. He had the Cielo door installed as the front entrance to the studio. Trent would eventually relocate back to Los Angeles in 2004, this time leaving the Cielo door behind for good. The building stood vacant until 2010, when it was purchased by a surgeon looking to convert the property into a retail area. It has since been remodeled beyond recognition, but we managed to visit back when the original building still stood.
LOCATION: 4500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Here is the Cielo door at the front entrance to the former studio on Magazine Street, where it sat behind a steel gate. The door remained until around 2012, when the building was completely remodeled. The current whereabouts of the door is unknown.
After Charles Manson died in 2017, his funeral was quitly held in Porterville, Califonia and his ashes were spread in a nearby, undisclosed location.
LOCATION: 765 W Henderson Ave, Porterville, CA 93257
Here is the back of the funeral home.
There are countless more locations related to these events, which we have not covered. There are also many books that dive much deeper into the subject. We simply aimed to present a visual timeline of one of the most infamous crimes in American history. It is a fascinating, tragic story. It was very real and these are the places where it all unfolded.
In the sequel comedy “22 Jump Street,” the church used as the police headquarters is briefly seen again in the film. The team is seen relocating to a building across the street, supposedly located at the titular address. In reality, there’s only some houses across the street from the church. The new HQ is another church located about 5 miles away (614 St Maurice Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117).
LOCATION: 222 N Roman St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Over at the Sony lot in Culver City, California, you can find this football helmet shaped vehicle, used in an action sequence in the film.
LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Some props from the film are also on display at Sony Pictures Studio.
In the surprisingly entertaining 2012 film adaptation of the 1980s TV series “21 Jump Street,” the police headquarters, supposedly located at the titular address, is actually the St. James AME Church in New Orleans. The church pops up again briefly in the sequel “22 Jump Street.”
LOCATION: 222 N Roman St, New Orleans, LA 70112
This building directly to the left is part of the same church property and also seen in the film several times.
Some costumes and props from the film can be found on display at Sony Pictures Studio.
LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
The 2008 David Fincher film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” shot mostly in the New Orleans area, with some additional sequences filmed in Quebec, Canada and the Los Angeles County area.
Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt, is born at this house, known as the Lanaux Mansion Bed and Breakfast in New Orleans. In the film, the house belongs to Benjamin’s father, played by Jason Flemyng, who, upon seeing Benjamin at birth, grabs him and takes him away from the home. Later in the film, an adult Benjamin returns to the home to visit his ailing father.
LOCATION: 547 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
The house where Benjamin lives for much of the film and where he meets Daisy, played by Cate Blanchett, is known as the Nolan House. The shrubs lining the property have grown much higher since filming completed, making portions of the house and yard unfortunately more difficult to see.
LOCATION: 2707 Coliseum St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Mr. Oti, played by Rampai Mogadishu, takes Benjamin to this peristyle, where they sit and talk as they look out onto the water. The peristyle can be found at the New Orleans City Park.
LOCATION: 42 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans, LA 70119
Another view of the peristyle.
Daisy dances for Benjamin at the Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park. Some extra decor was added to the bandstand for the film.
LOCATION: Newman Bandstand, Golf Club Dr, New Orleans, LA 70118
We leave you with some props from the film. One of the aged, prosthetic masks worn by Brad Pitt can be seen on the Paramount Studio Tour.
LOCATION: 5555 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Also located in the Paramount prop room is the clock that runs backwards in the film.
The challenge in capturing the filming locations for a TV series such as “True Detective” is that the list become so voluminous, the pursuit can become staggering. We did our best to capture as many of the most well-known spots as we could, but it remains an ongoing progress. This only covers the first season. We’ve split the locations up by episode as well, but some of course appear over numerous episodes.
Season one, starring Matthew McConaughey as Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson as Marty Hart, is set against the green, empty landscapes and the industrial detritus of the Southern Louisiana bayou. The story immerses us in the lives of two detectives over a span of seventeen years, as they try to solve a murder investigation.
The series shot all over Southern Louisiana, mostly in the small towns surrounding New Orleans. Many of the locations chosen are impressive, as some are so far off the beaten path, they’re certainly not your run of the mill places for a big budget production to film. Some spots are actually quite a challenge to access and others aren’t the safest of places. We’ll attempt to break it all down.
Episode One – “The Long Bright Dark”
The detectives are introduced to the case in 1995, when they discover the body of Dora Lang under a tree. The tree in question is found at the Oak Alley Plantation. Many productions have shot there, including “Interview With The Vampire,” “Primary Colors” and more. While the plantation is open to tours, this tree is not included on their tours. Most plantations in Louisiana run several miles deep, full of sugarcane or other crops. This tree is located back in the farming area of the property. You can in fact drive on a bit of the plantation’s dirt roads, but you’ll not likely access the tree from the main entrance of Oak Alley along LA-18, as the roads to most of the crops are usually gated off. The tree is much closer to LA-3127 on the back side of the plantation.
LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 29°58’16.71″N, 90°46’9.32″W. The front end of the plantation is at 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, but the tree is located deep in the property, near the intersection of LA-3127 and Oak Alley Dr (the latter being an unmarked dirt road).
Marty and Rust work at the Criminal Investigative Unit, which can be found in New Orleans. This building is actually tucked back a bit from the road, past a couple other parking lots, so you may not immediately spot it upon first approach.
LOCATION: 155 Brookhollow Esplanade, New Orleans, LA 70123
Later in the series, Marty and Rust get into altercation in the parking lot out front.
Episode Two – “Seeing Things”
In the second episode, the detectives discover a second body at a burned out church. That church was a set constructed by the production, but the location it was built at can still be visited. Locating it is not the easiest of tasks, however. It can be found near the Bonnet Carre Spillway in LaPlace. From CC Rd, you must take a slight left up an unmarked embankment, just before you reach the railroad tracks. If you pass the tracks, you’ve gone too far. If you follow the dirt road a short distance to the GPS coordinates listed below, you’ll arrive at the correct spot. While it is not private property, depending on the weather conditions, you might not want attempt it. The dirt roads flood very easily and depending on the time of year, the place can be swarming with insects as well.
LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 30° 1’8.83″N, 90°26’19.35″W, down an unmarked dirt road, just off of CC Rd, LaPlace, LA 70068
Episode Three – “The Locked Room”
Marty lives at this house in the town of Marrero. The home is seen several times in the series, such as when Rust comes and mows Marty’s lawn, much to his anger.
LOCATION: 2541 Fawnwood Rd, Marrero, LA 70072
Rust visits the Light of the Way Christian Academy where (*spoilers*) he unknowingly speaks to the killer, Errol Childress, who is mowing the lawn. Marty calls Rust away none the wiser as they follow a lead on Reggie LeDoux. The building itself is the Old Kenner High School in Kenner, which was subject to a fire by arson in 2018. This is what’s left of the building in the wake of the fire, the remnants of which, in all likelihood, will eventually be demolished.
LOCATION: 1601 Reverend Richard Wilson Dr, Kenner, LA 70062
Episode Four – “Who Goes There”
Rust meets Marty’s wife Maggie, played by Michelle Monaghan, at this diner and donut shop, where he informs her that Marty wants to see the kids while they are separated.
LOCATION: 7271 Jefferson Hwy, Harahan, LA 70123
Things take a darker turn when Rust goes undercover as “Crash” to reconnect with a biker gang known as the Iron Crusaders, in an attempt to find Reggie LeDoux. Rust heads to this biker bar, where he meets up with Ginger, a member of the gang. Marty arrives soon after looking for Rust, but he is quickly kicked out by the bikers. The building can be slightly tricky to find, as it sits behind a truck stop.
LOCATION: 65583 Pump Slough Rd, Pearl River, LA 70452
A view of the back of the property, where Rust makes a deal to help Ginger with a robbery, in exchange for a drug connection. Marty spots them boarding a boat just before he’s thrown out.
One of the most memorable sequences of the series is the six minute long, single take of Cohle and the Iron Crusaders robbing a drug house. Recreating the shot is no easy task. While set in Beaumont, Texas, the scene was actually filmed in Woodland Acres, a low-income housing unit located in Westwego, Louisiana. While nowhere near as extreme as what’s depicted on the show, it is nevertheless a tough neighborhood where tourism is certainly not common. There are only a few streets and all of them loop back together, meaning there is one way in and one way out (bad spot for a robbery, as the characters in the show quickly discover). Many of the residents like to sit outside and, due to the very self-contained layout, you will undoubtedly attract attention if you visit. Walking around photographing their properties, the reaction can be unpredictable. Sound judgment should be used as to how much you choose to impose. Another challenge is simply figuring out where all the shots take place. Even with plenty of research and preparation, it still takes a bit of time to figure out your bearings once you’re there. Other than one or two minor shots, which we voluntarily refrained from as not to be too disruptive to the tenants, we were more or less able to capture what we wanted unimpeded. However, prospective visitors should be aware your experiences may differ from ours, so use caution.
The Iron Crusaders pose as police officers with a shotgun held on one of the drug dealers, as they force their way into this drug house.
LOCATION: 212 Jackson St, Westwego, LA 70094
As the robbery proceeds, an angry crowd gathers outside and their control of the situation unravels after one of the robbers opens fire. Bullets flying, Cohle, no longer concerned with his cover, immediately turns on the Crusaders and takes Ginger hostage, as he still needs the information on LeDoux. Cohle and Ginger spill out the back door of the same apartment.
The camera pans up to see a police helicopter arriving above. Rust kicks in the back door of this adjacent unit with Ginger in tow, as he makes a call to Marty to pick them up at a nearby street.
LOCATION: 205 Lake St, Westwego, LA 70094
They make their way out the front door of the same building when Cohle is struck in the back with a baseball bat by one of the gang members. He fights off the assailants and pistol whips them in this front yard.
Rust and Ginger hide behind a bush as gang members and cops both head down Alaska Street to the scene of the robbery.
LOCATION: Alaska St, next to 202 Lake St, Westwego, LA 70094
Rust and Ginger run over to this unit, where they hide right behind the divider wall, as armed gang members spill out from the unit right behind them, looking to defend their turf.
LOCATION: 710 Texas St, Westwego, LA 70094
They then hurry over to this fence on the same property and climb it.
They cross through the grassy area on the right, where Marty picks them up to narrowly escape the chaotic scene.
Rust takes Ginger to Sportsman’s bar, where Ginger reluctantly introduces him to Dewall LeDoux, Reggie’s cousin and cook partner. In reality, this is a composite of two locations. The exterior is actually a sporting goods and bait shop, while the interior is the Spillway Bar (15641 US-61, Norco, LA 70079), located just a short distance away.
LOCATION: 15611 US-61, Norco, LA 70079
The compound of Reggie LeDoux, where more violence occurs and LeDoux gives his “time is a flat circle” speech, was in fact a set built by the production. The set was built off of Florissant Hwy in the town of St Bernard.
Episode Six – “Haunted Houses”
Marty stops for a drink at what was formerly Fox & Hound. There he meets Beth by chance, a former teenage prostitute who he once helped out, and the two have a conversation over drinks. The building has since been remodeled a bit and is currently a discount shop. It can be found in the Elmwood Shopping Center in New Orleans.
LOCATION: 1200 S Clearview Pkwy, New Orleans, LA 70123
Marty and Beth meet up for more drinks, before heading back to Beth’s place. In the show, the bar is depicted as “The Keg,” but it’s actually the Rickshaw Lounge in Harahan.
LOCATION: 378A Hickory Ave, Harahan, LA 70123
Episode Seven – “After You’ve Gone”
Rust follows a lead and meets a transvestite prostitute at the Dragon’s Den in New Orleans, located not far from the famous French Quarter.
LOCATION: 435 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Rust breaks into the home of Billy Lee Tuttle, where he obtains incriminating photos and videos.
LOCATION: 4717 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Seventeen years after the murder of Dora Lang, Hart and Cohle resume their investigation at Marty’s private investigation business, Hart Investigative Solutions.
LOCATION: 5703 Read Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70127
In 2012, an older, alcoholic Cohle now works as a bartender at this bar, known as Fisherman’s Wharf.
LOCATION: 4381 Bayou Gauche Rd, Des Allemands, LA 70030
Rust lives in this small house, which is located directly behind the Fisherman’s Wharf bar location.
LOCATION: 4381 Bayou Gauche Rd, Des Allemands, LA 70030 (behind the Fisherman’s Wharf building)
Gilbough and Papania, the two detectives interviewing Rust and Marty throughout the series, encounter the killer, Errol Childress and much like Cohle, are unaware of his true identity. Errol is mowing the Fleming Cemetery in Jean Lafitte. It is located very close to the filming location for Errol’s house.
LOCATION: Fleming Cemetery, Jean Lafitte, LA 70067 (GPS coordinates: 29°44’39.12″N, 90° 8’4.91″ W)
Episode Eight – “Form And Void”
In the final episode, Errol is seen on a ladder painting a school where children are playing. The building can be found at the Buddy Lawson Playground in the town of Kenner.
LOCATION: 1800 Short St, Kenner, LA 70062
Another view of the building.
As the series reaches it’s climax, Marty and Rust finally make it to the home of the killer, Errol Childress. The house has been renovated a bit from how it appeared in the show, with a staircase notably being added. Otherwise, it appears more or less the same. This portion of the house is unfortunately not visible from the road and sits on private property.
LOCATION: 2258 Jean Lafitte Blvd, Jean Lafitte, LA 70067
Errol flees into the tunnels of Carcosa, which is actually the ruins of Fort Macomb State Historic Site in New Orleans. Unlike the layout depicted in the show, the ruins are quite a distance away from Errol’s house. Built in 1822 by the United States, the fort was intended to defend the port of New Orleans from potential invading forces. The fort was decommissioned in 1871. Since then, there have been some attempts to open it up for public tourism, but due to the condition of the ruins, it has unfortunately been deemed unsafe for tourism at this time. Today, the area is surrounded by barbed wire fencing and is not open to the public. In spite of that, people seem to regularly manage their way onto the grounds, as it has been well documented by urban explorers and locals. The ruins have appeared in a few other productions as well, including “NCIS: New Orleans” and Beyonce’s music video “Lemonade.”
You can actually see the perimeter of the ruins along the water on public property, but not the inner tunnels seen in the show. A tip for anyone considering visiting this general area, since the grounds are not currently maintained, they can become overgrown and the presence of insects is significant, especially in the summer months. Winter is a bit more suitable.
LOCATION: Fort Macomb State Historic Site, New Orleans, LA 70129 (GPS coordinates: 30° 3’53.30″N, 89°48’15.16″W)
In the final scenes, Marty visits Rust at the “Lafayette General Hospital.” This is actually the St. Bernard Parish Hospital in Chalmette, located nowhere near Lafayette. The pair discuss light versus dark and each offers their perspective on which is winning.
LOCATION: 8000 W Judge Perez Dr, Chalmette, LA 70043
For as many places from the show as we captured, there remain just as many we didn’t. Visiting these spots can be both enjoyable and very challenging. Some places, we recommend only for the most avid of fans. Other spots, we suggest plenty of research and preparation before visiting. It is a unique way to explore the Southern Louisiana bayou and you can take the odyssey as far as you want to go with it. For us, it served as one of the most extensive location searches we’ve ever done.
In the 1994 Neil Jordan adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview With The Vampire,” Louis, played by Brad Pitt, recounts his story to Malloy, played by Christian Slater at this San Francisco hotel.
LOCATION: 1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Louis lives at this estate, which is the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. The plantation is open to public tours. This house and its distinct row of trees can actually be seen from the road of LA-18. However, you might find it difficult to stop and get a photo, as there is no parking along the street. The same home was also seen in the 1998 film “Primary Colors.”
LOCATION: 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090
In the film’s closing scenes, Malloy is unexpectedly met by Lestat, played by Tom Cruise, as they cross the Golden Gate Bridge.