True Detective Tour
The tour is 95 miles (153 km) long and includes 13 filming locations. It would take about three hours without stopping at the sights, but to properly do the tour, you'll want to make stops for photos, food, and general gaping. It's wise to plan for a full day.
We recommend you to embark on the tour during the weekend so that you can avoid rush hour traffic.
First, watch True Detective. Otherwise do not read beyond this section, as major spoilers follow!
You might bring a sketchbook and a pen with you to write down all the clues from each crime scene to solve this mysterious crime on your own.
The tour begins at the crime scene of a former prostitute Dora Lange’s who was found in a field of burned crops, with a symbol painted on her back and wearing a "crown" of deer antlers, blindfolded and posed as if praying to a large solitary tree. The show says the crime scene was in a rural town of Erath, Louisiana, whereas the actual shooting location is 50 miles west from downtown New Orleans. It might be a little bit difficult to get to the actual tree of the crime scene but if you follow closely the directions, you won't be lost.
When driving from New Orleans on I-10 W, take the exit to LA-641 S. Follow LA-641 S which will later change to LA-3213 S. At the end of the LA-3213 road turn right onto LA-3127. Drive 5.3 miles and turn right to Oak Alley Dr. Drive 0.7 miles and turn left. The crime scene tree will be on your right.
Bring your car as shooting locations are spread out around New Orleans and you won't be able to walk between them. Also, some of the places (e.g. opening crime scene) are only reachable by car.
This is a meandering and complicated itinerary through many of lesser known places around New Orleans. You'll have a much easier time if you bring a friend along, who can be your navigator and read the itinerary as you go!
We start at the Tree murder site. Since it is in the middle of farm plot there really isn't an address that you can just plug into a map. The coordinates of the location are: (29.9714000, -90.7693650). This is where two detectives finds a former prostitute, Dora Kelly Lange, in a still smoking field of burned crops with a symbol painted on her back, wearing a “crown” of deer antlers, blind folded, praying to the large solitary tree. This is where the investigation of this mysterious murder case starts. This location is on private property
From here we go to the Burnt church. Unfortunately, it too doesn't have a street address but you can locate it by the coordinates (30.019101, -90.438657). First we follow LA-3127 S and LA-3213 to US-61 S then turn right onto US-61 S and continue onto CC Rd to your destination. The trip is around 30 miles and should take you around 45 mins by car. This church was located by the detectives through some help from the underage prostitute, Beth, who had Lange's (the wife of Charlie) diary. While searching through the wreckage of the church, they find a painting on a wall. The painting was a disturbing image of a woman with deer antlers on her head. The women in the image was positioned as same as the girl they've found by the Tree from Episode 1. In the show it says that the church was located in a small town, Eunice, around 150 miles west from New Orleans.
Next to get to the Bar Exterior we head east for 52ft and then turn right in 0.2 miles followed by a right toward CC Rd. In half a mile turn right onto CC Rd and then in 1.3 miles turn right onto US-61 S and the destination (838 Good Hope St. Norco, LA 70079) will be on the left. This is where Rust takes Ginger to meet up with Ginger's meth contact. This meet up leads Marty and Rust to find where Reggie Ledoux is located.
The Golf Course Meeting with Marty and Steve is at (3600 Chateau Blvd. Kenner, LA 70065). Take the US-61 N and I-310 N to Loyola Dr in Kenner, then take exit 221 from I-10 E. Head southeast on US-61 N toward 9th St and merge onto I-310 N via the ramp to New Orleans. Take exit 1A I-10 E toward New Orleans and take exit 221 for Loyola Dr. Follow W Esplanade Ave to Chateau Blvd and then turn left onto Loyola Dr. Next turn right onto E Loyola Dr and take the 3rd right onto W Esplanade Ave. We finish by turning right onto Chateau Blvd. Destination will be on the right. This meeting is held when Marty finds out that Steve was the sheriff handling one of the cases that they needed to investigate. Rust and Marty set this meeting up to see if they can get any information out of Steve. Rust realizes that Steve is somehow involved in this crime. So, Marty and Rust kidnaps Steve to get more details from him.
Onto Tuttle's School. Head north on Chateau Blvd toward Chateau Rothchild Dr. Turn right onto Vintage Dr followed by a right onto Williams Blvd. Then turn right onto Veterans Blvd/Veterans Memorial Blvd and another left onto Airport Rd. This is followed by slight left toward Airline Dr and a right onto Airline Dr. Take the 2nd left onto Hollandey St followed by the 3rd left. Then (1599 Reverend Richard Wilson Dr. Kenner, LA 70062) will be on the right. This is where the Tuttle Foundation’s Light of the Way Academy is located. This is where Cohle starts to interview a caretaker on a riding lawnmower, not knowing that he may be related to the crime somehow.
To get to Dot's Diner (10701 Jefferson Hwy. River Ridge, LA 70123) Head east on Reverend Richard Wilson Dr toward Duncan St. Continue onto LA-48 E/3rd St and make a U-turn at Arnold Ave. The destination will be on the right. This is the diner that Marty meets up with Papania during the finale episode of the show.
Next is Tastee Doughnuts (7271 Jefferson Hwy. Harahan, LA 70123). Head northwest on LA-48 W toward Tullulah Ave then make a U-turn at Tullulah Ave. Finish with a U-turn at Imperial Woods Dr. The shop will be on the right. This is where Rust and Marie meets up to talk about Marty.
To get to Rickshaw Lounge (378 Hickory Ave. New Orleans, LA 70123). Head west on LA-48 W toward Soniat Ave. Then take the 1st right onto Soniat Ave and turn right onto Wilson St. Next turn right onto Oak Ave followed by taking the 1st left onto Camden St. Turn right onto Hickory Ave and the Lounge will be on the right. This is an another location where Marty meets up with Beth, the under-aged prostitute that helped Rust and Marty to find the burnt church years ago.
As we truck along to The Police HQ head southeast on Hickory Ave toward Alexis St Take the 2nd left onto LA-48 E (5752 Jefferson Hwy Elmwood, LA 70123) will be on the right. This is where Marty and Rust report back to after their investigation. In the show the Police HQ is located in Lafayette.
Fox and Hound. Head northeast on LA-48 E toward Edwards Ave then turn left onto the ramp to S Clearview Pkwy. Keep right at the fork and merge onto S Clearview Pkwy. Make a U-turn and (1200 S Clearview Pkwy, New Orleans, LA 70123) will be on the right. Fox and Hound is where Marty runs into Beth, the under-aged prostitute that helped him and Rust years ago. She is no longer a teen but have grown into a young women. She tells him that he had saved her life years ago, which allowed her to escape from her past. Marty ends up having an affair with Beth.
To get to Tuttle's house exterior. Head south on S Clearview Pkwy and then make a U-turn followed by a slight right onto the ramp to New Orleans LA-3139. Continue onto Earhart Blvd followed by turning right onto Washington Ave. Turn right onto S Broad St and then take a slight left onto Napoleon Ave. Turn right onto St Charles Ave (4717 St Charles Ave. New Orleans, LA 70115) will be on the right. In the show, Reverend Tuttle has a home here. We don't find out until later episodes that Rust Cohle breaks in and finds incriminating images and videos. Marty only reveals the truth about this break in to Marty. The horrifying Photographs and videotape was of the ritualistic, sacrificing of an one girl named Marie Fontenot that has been reported missing years ago.
Next is the Dragon's Den. Head west on St Charles Ave toward Bordeaux St then turn right onto Jefferson Ave. Turn right onto S Claiborne Ave Merge onto I-10 E via the ramp on the left to Sildell. Take exit 236A E toward Esplanade Avenue and then merge onto N Claiborne Ave. Turn right onto Esplanade Ave and then make a U-turn at Frenchmen St (435 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans, LA 70116) will be on the right. This is the bar that Rust asks Marty to buy him a drink during Episode 7, after Rust and Marty gets questioned by Papania and and Gilbough. Marty feeling unsafe about Rust's invitation brings a gun with him. Rust asks Marty to help him to finish solving the case because Marty also has a debt that he owes.
Lastly we head to Fort Macomb State Historic Site . Head northwest on Esplanade Ave toward Decatur St. Turn right onto N Rampart St and then turn left at the 2nd cross street onto St Bernard Ave. Turn right onto N Claiborne Ave followed by a left to merge onto I-10 E. Take exit 240B for US-90 E/Chef Hwy and in 14 miles the fort will be on your right. This site is where the two detectives find Reggie Ledoux on Episode 5. They also discover the two kidnapped and abused children at the site. Whatever happens at this site remains as a secret between the two detectives. They make up a story together to tell the press and doesn't reveal any truth to what had exactly happened with Reggie at the site.
As with all tours with a mix of public and private property please be respectful. If it is marked as private property please refrain from taking pictures and definitely do not try to look in windows to catch a glimpse of interior. Just because they filmed inside does not mean that it will look like it does on the show.
Unfortunately, Fort Macomb was damaged in Hurricane Katrina and is now structurally unsound that and the decaying condition of the fort caused it to be judged as too hazardous for public visits. You can still see the fort from the side of the road but please do not try to enter it.
Hurricane Katrina alerted the world to the danger of hurricanes in this part of the world. However if one visits a place vulnerable to natural disaster, at least hurricanes give warning. During the height of the hurricane season, from July through October, be sure to check with the weather service before going to New Orleans, and if a large storm is threatening the Gulf Coast, consider a change of plans. If one threatens the city while you're there, play it safe and leave early; don't wait for an evacuation order to head away from the coast. If you cannot get out of the area you should at least be sure to get to a hotel located on high ground (as a rule in New Orleans, the older the neighborhood, the higher the ground).
Worries about health risks in New Orleans remaining after the post-Katrina cleanup were fortunately unfounded. The main health concerns are the same for the rest of the U.S. South: If you're not accustomed to the sub-tropical heat, drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself in the sunshine.
The majority of the city's notorious crime problem is manifested away from the parts of town of interest to most visitors, but always be aware of your surroundings. The Central City neighborhood is having the worst problem, and at present should be avoided by casual visitors. The "Back of town" sections of the 7th 8th and 9th Wards has also been having serious problems. Visitors are advised to check on current local conditions before visiting these neighborhood and take extra care if they go. St. Louis Cemetery #1 should only be visited with a tour group. The city's housing projects should generally be avoided.
While the French Quarter and attractions most visited by tourists are some of the safest areas from violent crimes, beware opportunistic thieves looking for a chance to snatch something from visitors who are not keeping an eye on their valuables. A famous 19th century sign from the Quarter reads: "Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women." Not much has changed. Tourists can be so distracted that they are separated from their common sense and, theoretically, other things. Keep things in your front pockets, and be careful with your digital on Bourbon Street. Don't mess with the cops or the bouncers.
Around parts of the French Quarter and nearby areas with many tourists, visitors can encounter hustlers who will try to get a few dollars from visitors offering anything from a flower to a hat, a foot massage, or even to clean your shoes. Another popular tourist scam is to bet a tourist $20 that the scammer knows where the tourist got their shoes. If the tourist takes the bet, the scammer responds, "You got them on your feet" and demands the $20. Remember that you are under no obligation to talk to people and it's just best to ignore them; the same with the "gutter punks" sometimes congregate on lower Decatur Street.
All and all, though, the government and police are aware of the problem and are there to help you, but you can help them (and yourself) also by using one simple rule: use your common sense (as one would do in any other sizeable city). Being alone and utterly drunk is not the the best state to be in when walking through a deserted alley in downtown New Orleans on a regular busy Saturday night, and during massive crowd-drawers like Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence, one should be more careful than on an average Wednesday afternoon.
Last but not least: looking for drugs or illegal activities will not only expose you to danger; if someone you just met is trying to lure you into a strange part of town for something decadent, assume you're probably being set up for a robbery or worse. Also be advised that Louisiana has the harshest sentencing laws in the country as most felonies carry a mandatory prison sentence, so conduct yourself accordingly.