Deep South Studios Welcomed as Boost to Algiers Economy


A movie studio being developed in Algiers may help improve the community’s economy by bringing in new jobs and boosting businesses.

Deep South Studios will be located near the foot of the Crescent City Connection, right off of Mardi Gras Boulevard in Algiers. The studio will be made up of many buildings that will provide services for locally made movies. The $63.5 million studio was given tax breaks from the Industrial Development Board in January, and owner Scott Neimeyer is still working on financing.

Niemeyer said the studio is intended to be a motion picture and digital media campus with state-of-the-art faculties for all aspects of production.

“The goal is to create an environment that is up to Hollywood standards,” Niemeyer said.

Niemeyer, who grew up in Algiers, said it was somewhat coincidental that the location of the studio was decided upon in Algiers.

“Three years ago, we were just wrapping up the first ‘Pitch Perfect’ film in Baton Rouge and were looking for a suitable location that might be a local building to create a studio environment in New Orleans,” Niemeyer said. “So I started driving around the city looking at open land, warehouses and building structures that were close to the central business district and the hotels.

“Moving out from the downtown area, I found the open land there in Algiers,” Niemeyer said. “It was just an effort to try an orient a production facility as close to the downtown area as I possibly could.”

Valerie Robinson, president of the Old Algiers Main Street Corporation, said Deep South Studios could help Algiers because it will use people who are skilled in movie production in the area and create jobs.

“One of their commitments is to hire people from the neighborhood, but we have a large number of the creative economy and a lot of those people are in the film industry right now in one way or another, whether they’re a set designer or a catering company or a make up artist or actors,” Robinson said. “So, it helps make this a more inviting place for those kinds of people to live as well and we would love to build more of that.

“Just from an economic standpoint, the number of jobs and the economic impact is tremendous,” Robinson said. “It’s a huge piece of property and if the development goes through as he plans it, over time it’s going to expand and it’ll be one of the biggest operations like that in the Southeast.”

Orleans Parish School Board member Leslie Ellison, an Algiers resident, said Deep South Studios, as well as the local movie industry, could benefit the Algiers community by including local students into the industry.

“We have phenomenal students that are in drama, that can dance, that can work in production that can produce videos,” Ellison said. “I think it’ll be a phenomenal partnership for the movie industry down South to partner with our students and help to build up that next generation of artists, actors, actresses and so on in that industry.”

Robinson said the studio could improve supporting businesses, like restaurants and gas stations.

“Whether they’re living here or just working here in the daytime or nighttime with films, they need places to go and they need services that they can handle on their way back and forth to work,” Robinson said. “We are hoping that that will be a big generator for businesses.”

Ellison said the studio could help improve Algiers’ economy if it mainly uses local businesses and individuals.

“It can help build our economy if, from an Algiers standpoint, they’re using caterers in Algiers vs. having caterers come from out of the city.”

Niemeyer said Deep South Studios could improve the neighborhood surrounding it by putting it into commerce.

“I think it could improve property values for the neighbors, for the neighborhood, and create business opportunities in the surrounding area for all sorts of supporting businesses,” Niemeyer said. “But the biggest result, I think, would be jobs in the neighborhood.”

Robinson said Deep South Studios, once completed, could be important to Algiers because it will offer a real step up in terms of production and postproduction.

“The beautiful thing is that there’s space there to keep expanding,” Robinson said. “We could look like Hollywood down under the bridge.”