July 14, 2008

Downtown for rent

mansfield theater
When I went to Mansfield, Louisiana, for the first time in November 2006, it was a city struggling to recover from the effects of Katrina. Note the number of empty windows and the overall conditions of the buildings in the photograph above. The Mansfield Theater is the building in the center.

So imagine my shock and surprise when I returned to Mansfield and found this:
mansfield theater dressed up as marshall theater
mansfield theater redone as marshall theater
It turns out the film The Great Debaters was partially filmed in Mansfield back in July 2007. The downtown area around the courthouse was done up to resemble 1935 circa Marshall, Texas. Mansfield may have been in need of renovation, but I sort of feet like it allowed itself to be defaced. So it goes. If what I saw in Smithville was typical, the coat of Hollywood will fade away sooner than later.

Here are some more pictures of Mansfield dressed up as 1935 circa Marshall. I kept wondering why I hadn't seen any of this my first time in Mansfield(!):

more repainted bldgs. in mansfield
gas lamp in mansfield different angle
a gas lamp on the courthouse grounds

laundry in mansfield
harrison county sheriff door
"Sheriff Harrison County" - Marshall is Harrison County Seat

bldgs. in mansfield painted for movie
bldg. in mansfield
This building was there in 2006,
but not with this on its side(!):

old bldg. dressed up for movie in mansfield
"How could I have not noticed this the
first time I was here??" I kept thinking...

coke sign done for movie in mansfield
Based on Smithville, I bet this'll be much worse for the wear in a year or two.

mockup in mansfield
mansfield as marshall

Finally, here are some pictures someone else took as the filming of The Great Debaters was being done in July 2007.


Anonymous said...

I know you don't think of things like this, but I do fully envision you being held as an icon to the memory of small towns in the Arklatex area. Alas, it's so depressing for me to see so many of these places that I remember so well as a kid. Build a Walmart, and any sense of history fades into the distance like a blue light special. Yeah, wrong chain, but you get the picture.
Hope all is well and you're enjoying your summer.
As ever,

Chris said...

Ed, thanks for the compliment. Wow! "Icon" -- I like the sound of that;)

Things change! I'm not crazy about that reality, but it's how it is. If it wasn't Walmart, it'd be something else catalyzing that change. We can capture things with cameras, but sometimes there's no replacing something when it's gone, and that can really sting.

aufkleber druck said...

GooD Job! :)