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Around The World In 80 Films: True Detective

"The universe was born freaky," says the voodoo priestess currently bending Total Film's brain in the depths of her New Orleans temple.

Considering the fact that the cemetery tour guide who brought us here stopped on the way to buy a paper because its cover story involves a murder investigation he's caught up with (he'd unknowingly recorded one of the suspects whilst making a documentary about a different murder) - we'd say she's probably right.

Did we mention the murder occurred in the building we're currently stood in? Or that we've just come from visiting the grave of iconic voodoo queen Marie Laveau?

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, even when that fiction is as strange and glorious as True Detective - the brilliant HBO show we're in town to celebrate.

We've come to Louisiana to visit some of the incredible real locations used in the hugely acclaimed Matthew McConaughy / Woody Harrelson crime show.

Our first stop? The bar Rust Cohle works in during his self-imposed exile, at Bayou des Allemands.


It's the first of many surprising locations - it's so close to what we saw on the small screen we feel like we've crawled into our television.

And then the owner tells us McConaughey's kids spent a lot of the shoot playing with his pet 'gators out back and our minds basically explode.

The bar is packed with character - a battered surfboard rests against one wall, with a discarded deer's head just underneath.

On the wall a giant turtle's head roars into the void. And that's just the stuff that was off-camera in the scenes set here.

"A lot of our show is just two guys talking. To avoid having them just talking against a wall, I blocked the scenes in places where there'd be enough depth to create these multiple layers of the storytelling," director Cary Fukunaga says.

And Fukunaga certainly made the most of his locations - we find Cohle's shack literally seconds from the bar. And it looks pretty much exactly as it does on the show.



As we drove between locations, we spent a lot of time on Highway 306 - another key location for True Detective . But whereas Rust and Marty pass time on the road by having existential conversations, we discussed something different. Women's butts.

"My sister had a theory that the mystery was all linked to women's butts," our lovely tour-guide Jo Banner tells us as we're making our way to another location. "You know, because there was so many women's butts on the show. I told her 'people just like women's butts! You may be overthinking it.'"

One of the most significant women's butts - actually, we're going to stop saying women's butts now if that's cool with you guys - appears at the very first murder site in True Detective , and it belongs to the corpse that kicks of the whole investigation, Dora Lange.

Her body is displayed in front of a fairly iconic tree - an oak which a lot of the promotion of the show revolves around.

And, sure enough, we decided to pay tribute. Literally.


The tree is located in the middle of a sugar cane field on the Oak Alley Plantation - on a section of the estate which isn't accessible to the public.

But if you take the True Detective tour - details at the bottom of this feature - you too can lie down at the foot of the impressive oak. One thing we'll say from experience - be careful of the fire ants. 

Anyway, we visited a couple more significant locations during our trip, but we won't go into too much detail, just in case there's anyone out there who's yet to see the show (go, go buy the Blu-ray - do it now!).

Show-watchers will probably know why we look so evil in these shots, though. 


Despite the admittedly fairly creepy nature of the above images, we had a wonderful time in New Orleans / Louisiana. The people are ridiculously friendly, the food's amazing and there are alligators everywhere. What's not to like? We highly recommend visiting, and taking the True Detective tour. 

And for those of you out there who don't think True Detective is cinematic enough to go under our Around The World In 80 Films banner, we've got an extra treat. 

There are loads of films being shot in Louisiana - from Terminator: Genesis to Jurassic World - and one of our recent favourites,  Django Unchained .

So, we couldn't leave without checking out Big Daddy's ranch, which is located on the Evergreen Plantation. 

It was the last of many surreal experiences during our trip. We started our journey being told the universe was born freaky by a voodoo priestess. By the end of it, we were inclined to agree with her. 

Louisiana is a strange, special place. We advise you take a trip there as soon as possible. 

You can read more about Louisiana's amazing film locations here

If you'd like to visit the above locations - and loads more - find out more about the True Detective tour, which includes van service and an amazing tour guide, here  

True Detective is out now on DVD and Blu-ray. And it's incredible.   

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