Courting 1910's Film Industry: New Orleans Association of Commerce

The New Orleans Association of Commerce was an organization dedicated to stimulating New Orleans-based industries, the organization increasingly saw film as part of their public relations strategies as early as the 1910s.

The New Orleans Association of Commerce was established in 1913 by local businessmen and originally headquartered at 315 Camp Street before relocating to 635 Common Street sometime prior to 1922. The association outlined plans in 1918 to increase the "get together spirit in New Orleans," and collaborate with the city government in order to promote trade and industry, attract new businesses, and encourage civic improvement in New Orleans and throughout the state of Louisiana.

One of the ways that the Association planned to enact this plan was to bring moving picture producers to New Orleans. This form of boosterism promoted the city as a center of innovation and film production. Their push to frame New Orleans and Louisiana as a film mecca coincided with the efforts of local film production companies, such as the Diamond Film Company and Harcol Film Company.

Public and private efforts to brand New Orleans as a center of film production continues today. According to Will French, president of Film Production Capital and board member of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association, the increase in production brought about by tax incentives have helped to bolster film related employment and keep jobs from moving out of state. While the policy French describes has been controversial, his desire to frame film as a way to boost the local economy draws upon the legacy of the discourse as found in the 1918 New Orleans Association of Commerce Report.



635 Commerce Street, New Orleans, LA ~ NOAC building no longer extant.