In New Orleans, the impact has been especially impressive. Studios there spent $661 million last year, and native workers are being hired at accelerating rates. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of city residents working full-time for the film industry quadrupled.
Actors, too, have begun to leave Los Angeles for New Orleans. The difference in lifestyle is a pull factor. “There’s better food, nobody cares what you drive, and it’s cheaper to live,” says actress Laura Cayoutte about her move from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast.
Not all Louisianans are happy about the film-industry influx. The tax credit was never meant to be permanent, and has cost the state more than $1 billion since it passed. But local film-industry boosters argue that it has done the state more good than a simple financial analysis could ever show.