Netflix movie 'We Have A Ghost' gives Donaldsonville economic boost

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief

All week, a movie crew has been in Donaldsonville working on the upcoming Netflix film "We Have A Ghost."

The movie has brought additional economic activity to the Ascension Parish westbank city as the crew has been renting facilities, parking lots, and patronizing area businesses.

Lee Melancon, the city's director of community and economic development, delivered a public address Aug. 26 via Facebook for Mayor Leroy Sullivan, who was attending a conference with parish officials concerning the threat of a potential hurricane.

Melancon said the city has received requests for autographs and photos with celebrities, but due to the pandemic, such visits are not being allowed at this time.

Though having the production in the city is exciting, groups should not congregate around the area, he advised.

Melancon said a report on economic impact will be done following the completion of the project.

"Many might be surprised at how much money they are contributing to our businesses and our citizens," he said during the program.

During the Aug. 24 Donaldsonville City Council virtual meeting, the mayor said the crew has been renting the Lemann Memorial Center to use as a base camp and for meals at a rate of $1,000 a day. They are expected to rent the building for as many as two weeks, bringing the total to as much as $14,000.

Additionally, the crew has been following strict guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Only crew members have been allowed in designated areas.

The production has been using storefronts along Railroad Avenue as a backdrop for scenes. The area extends roughly from the Mississippi Street to Louisiana Square, the park in front of the Ascension Parish Courthouse in the historic district.

The crew appeared to be filming a scene involving an orange Dodge Charger and a police car from Kansas, where the movie is set.

Though production is set to finish the first week of September, several wrap dates extend to Sept. 10. The company is off on weekends and for Labor Day.

The We Have A Ghost movie crew transformed a storefront on Railroad Avenue in Donaldsonville into an antique store.

Baton Rouge television stations WAFB and WBRZ have both reported on the project since The Donaldsonville Chief originally published an article about the production.

The report by WAFB's Lester Duhe featured an interview with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who touted the economic benefit movies bring to Louisiana.

Nungesser said in the report studies have shown productions have a $2.5 billion economic impact on tourism. Hit movies draw tourists to the towns and cities used, especially when artifacts are left behind.

Anthony Mackie, David Harbour, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Tig Notaro, and Jennifer Coolidge star in the upcoming Netflix movie We Have A Ghost.

"We Have A Ghost" stars New Orleans native Anthony Mackie, David Harbour, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Tig Notaro, and Jennifer Coolidge. It is written and directed by Christopher Landon.

Netflix announced the beginning of production July 20 in a Twitter post. According to the streaming service, the movie is about a friendly ghost that turns a family into overnight social media sensations - and CIA targets.

PHOTO GALLERY: "We Have A Ghost" set on Railroad Avenue in Donaldsonville