While filming Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” in New Orleans, the cast and crew were able to fully experience the city, finding new favorite haunts (pun intended), and immersing themselves in the one-of-a-kind culture of the city that plays home in the highly anticipated major motion picture.

See where stars like LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Rosario Dawson, and Director Justin Simien hung out during filming, as well as some of their favorite New Orleans moments that they experienced during production. Then be sure to head to theaters on July 28, 2023, to see the beloved attraction come to life on the big screen.

Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from press interviews in May 2023. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.

©2023 Disney
Stars Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, and LaKeith Stanfield in Disney's Haunted Mansion

How does the New Orleans vibe carry through this film?

JUSTIN SIMIEN (DIRECTOR): Yeah I mean New Orleans to me was…kind of personal cause my family is from Louisiana. One of the amazing things about New Orleans is that it really is this one-of-a-kind place in the country where, for a time, all of these races and cultures and languages and peoples that were not interacting in the rest of the country or maybe not even in the rest of the world, were just in this one city… it’s the place where…when there’s a funeral it turns into a street party and that sort of like impossible mix of things. 

(It) was a big source of inspiration. But I also felt like it was really important to ground the mansion in a cultural specificity you know this is a predominantly Black city…it draws upon these different traditions whether we’re talking about you know the Voodoo and Catholic religions… it’s sort of a mix of mythology and saints and- and culture and art. I just thought was really profound and I felt like the more authentic and true we could be to New Orleans, the more authentic we could actually be to the movie because what the movie says is that even in the darkness you know of something so big and amorphous like the concept of death and the afterlife, you’re seeing this explosion of joy and humor and fun. Those things aren’t supposed to go together and yet they do… The juxtapositions of New Orleans really actually tell the story of the mansion. So that was one of the most important priorities for me. 

What’s your favorite New Orleans moment or filming location?

JUSTIN SIMIEN: Wow, I think it probably has to be shooting on Bourbon Street…and like really being on location and like being immersed in the reality of that place, it’s a magical- it really is a magical place I just kept- everyone kept saying that, it’s like you just- if we don’t shoot in New Orleans like you’re doing the movie a disservice because like just look around it and you’re already in the mood.

TIFFANY HADDISH (HARRIET): My favorite filming location around New Orleans would have to be…Harriet’s shop… That whole outdoor area is so beautiful and the way they set it up it was great.

LAKEITH STANFIELD (BEN MATTHIAS): I think we, one time filmed really close to Bourbon Street and it was cool, cause you know, it’s a really big tourist attraction so it’s a lot of people coming and they’re checking out the film and seeing what we’re doing and excited at the prospect of having a film represent this place that they’re enjoying. And a lot of locals live there and they’re obviously really happy to see that a film’s being made in their hometown, so it’s always nice to get the support of the community.

©2023 Disney
Tiffany Haddish, LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, and Danny DaVito - Disney's "Haunted Mansion"

What’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?

JUSTIN SIMIEN: Gosh you know anywhere I can eat. Shrimp po-boys are my absolute favorite, and I will not…get in trouble with any small businesses in New Orleans by naming just one, but I’ll say anywhere where I can get a really well fried shrimp uh on a nicely toasted baguette, uh maybe with a little cocktail sauce–which I know is sacrilegious to some people but that’s how I was raised.

TIFFANY HADDISH: My favorite thing about New Orleans would probably be the music. The music, the nightlife–that’s my favorite thing about New Orleans.

ROSARIO DAWSON (GABBIE): I think my favorite thing about New Orleans is just the culture. The food, the people, the history, and it just works. It just sells the story so well knowing that it’s based there and people think of it as this place that’s haunted and has like the most haunted homes in the world. So it just kind of gives a gravitas to the space. And, you know, just the music…you can feel it. The heat in the air, it’s just such a vibrant, colorful, beautiful place, and so it was nice that we even got to film there a little bit. I just love that it gave it a texture… that it feels very centered and real and grounded in some place that already feels magical. New Orleans is like certain cities in America where it- it doesn’t feel like it’s part of America. It’s kind of its own place and the film sits very well in that. 

I always think of marching bands, when I think of New Orleans. I think of marching bands and..any time I’ve been there, no matter where you’re going you’re gonna have the most incredible food and it’s gonna have the most incredible live music. I think that’s such an interesting thing to juxtapose–like thinking about all these undead in a place that feels very alive. With music that’s always live so everything is done so live so it’s an interesting fun balance that’s struck there. 

It's the spot to be, that’s where I’d wanna go if I was haunting anyone. That’s where I’d want to be.

LAKEITH STANFIELD: I think it is the fact that it’s sort of rooted, the culture there seems to be rooted so much in spirits and in spirituality. Everywhere you go you’re seeing nods to history and there’s a lot of haunted houses and spooky things going on there, so it’s really cool. Halloween seems like it’d be super fun there. I dig it.

(The food in New Orleans) it’s amazing, it’s like uh best food that I’ve had in a while filming something. You know sometimes you’re in these locations and you’re trying to scavenge for food and it’s hard. But here, with the fact that we were in New Orleans and the fact that Disney is so generous it allowed us to really eat well. I think I gained like 4 or 5 pounds.


Catch Disney's "Haunted Mansion" in theaters nationwide beginning July 28, 2023.