There was no doubt that visiting the set of Jonah Hex was going to be an adventure from the get go, as the press kit warned us that we were going into undeveloped country. Wear boots, jeans, long-sleeved shirts, hats. Pack bug spray and sunscreen. Do not wear flip flops or heels. We've had snakes, bugs, and alligators on set! (Advice that would be repeated when we arrived on set: "Anywhere you step, kick the grass first. There's a lot of snakes here!") But when you're off to meet the cowboy with over 800 kills to his name, you're stepping into his snake-bitten world, and mosquitoes are the least of your problems.
The frontier was a trip back in time in more ways than one, as it allowed me to experience the scars of Hurricane Katrina firsthand. I hadn't been to New Orleans since I was a teenager, and I was keen to see how the city had recovered. The result was comforting and haunting, as I was relieved to see most of my favorite landmarks remained untouched, but that neighborhoods around them were, which was disorienting. Blocks that had held houses and apartment buildings were still empty, and nearly retaken by the persistent Louisiana greenery. Houses and restaurants throughout the French Quarter were still boarded up, with streaks of brown indicating where the water level had risen. Those that had reopened smacked of fresh paint and repair. The impression was reminiscent of a Western boom town, and that's really what New Orleans is now – a city waiting to be reclaimed and made rich again. It's the perfect place for Jonah Hex to hole up in.