Feature

New Orllywood?, Rocco's journey, Daughters of Iraq

More feature movies and TV pilots are being filmed in New Orleans than ever before, helping to spur the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

More feature movies and TV pilots are being filmed in New Orleans than ever before, helping to spur the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Fourteen major productions were shot in the Big Easy in 2007; so far this year, 13 films have been made and 10 are scouting locations in the city. This year’s projects are expected to bring in $100 million in revenue. “I can remember getting excited about having one or two shows coming here a year,” said Phil LoCicero, president of the local motion picture studio mechanics union. “Now members are able to pick and choose what jobs they want.”

Five years after running away from his home in Queens, N.Y., a beagle named Rocco has been reunited with his owners, having turned up 850 miles away. On July 3, Rocco was dropped off as a stray at Liberty County Animal Control in Hinesville, Ga.; a microchip embedded in his skin revealed that he belonged to the Villacis family, which had all but given up hope of finding him. No one is sure how Rocco got to Georgia, but apart from a scar on his ear and a case of heartworm, he’s doing fine. “At night, I would wish, ‘Please, Rocco, come home,’” said 11-year-old Natalie Villacis. “And now that wish has come true.”

In Iraq, preventing insurgent attacks has always been regarded as men’s work. But this week, 70 female volunteers calling themselves the Daughters of Iraq have joined the fight. Having completed a U.S.-organized five-day training course, the women will now begin searching suspected female suicide bombers at checkpoints, schools, hospitals, and other potential targets. “We see female police in America and we want to be like them,” said Shahla Hassan Alwan, one of the graduates. “It is a dream we want to make true. We want to use all the power we have to help our country.”

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