From humble beginnings the Third Street Film Festival will make its inaugural run, featuring 11 films highlighting the art and creativity of Louisiana filmmakers.

It represents a new, collaborative effort projecting local talent within the popular film festival medium.

The idea gestated from a simple Web page canvassing other established national and world-renowned film festivals. The page was managed by film enthusiast James Hebert, 22. Hebert now serves as executive director and organizer of the first Third Street Festival, slated for 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at the Manship Theatre.

“After doing the Web page, I began working as an extra on movie sets from films being done in Louisiana. I came into contact with many well-known actors. What struck me then was that these actors were normal people doing very cool jobs,” Hebert said.

From these early experiences came his idea of co-opting the film festival format into a local medium with the objective of offering local area talent a similar performance platform.

“The New Orleans Film Festival attracts film submissions from all over the world, and many of those have been made with million dollar budgets. Most filmmakers around here would be lucky just to have a few thousand (dollars). So, there are many who get shut out of the process, never having the chance of getting seen,” Hebert explained.

Herein came Hebert’s nascent idea of organizing a film festival for local filmmakers, and Third Street Film Festival came into being.

When the call went out that Third Street was accepting submissions for its first effort, Hebert was floored.

“I was blown away receiving 45 films,” Hebert said.

During an evaluation process, Hebert and a cadre of area filmmakers pared that number down to 10-12 Louisiana-made films that will be screened on Friday, Dec. 30.

An awards gala celebrating these films and the event’s inaugural run will be held on New Year’s Eve at the River Terrace at the Shaw Center for the Arts downtown.

To get into the New Year’s Eve party, however, you must have purchased a $25 ticket to the previous night’s festival.

“We have all types (genres) of films, and I’m very happy with everything we settled on,” he said.

Festival-goers can expect a comedy set in New Orleans, a drama shot in the swamps of Terrebonne Parish, and a documentary of sorts capturing the final business days of the well-known Compact Disc Store, a longtime music store located at Jefferson Highway and Capital Heights Avenue.

Hebert holds aspirations of making the Third Street Film Festival an annual event — at the very least — and a serious platform that grows into a respected, even revered event, similar to those festivals he covered earlier.

“I want to hold (Third Street) around this time every year, giving people who never had the chance to make a film to have their work shown here, and then have them be proud about it,” Hebert said.

He described the effort of organizing the festival as “a bit overwhelming” given his youth and experience. Hebert said he received a lot of encouragement and contacts through social media sites such as Facebook, which provided early welcomed exposure.

Tickets to the Dec. 30 festival and the following night’s New Year’s Eve party can be purchased either through, or at

The New Year’s Eve party starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31.

There are plenty of other parties and celebrations being held through Baton Rouge and outlying areas. If fine dining, dancing and music play to your mood, or if ringing in the New Year encompasses the party atmosphere, there is an event nearby to suit your tastes.

Once again, Guys Towing Service is offering free rides and tows home for intoxicated drivers. Call (800) 237-4897, Baton Rouge, and (337) 237-4897 in Lafayette.


Baton Rouge area

  • BATON ROUGE RIVER CENTER THEATRE: 275 S. River Road. KEM concert and New Year’s party. $72-$127. Ticket price includes concert and party. or (800) 745-3000.
  • CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL: 4728 Constitution Ave. New Year’s Eve celebration in the Premier Ballroom. Live entertainment, dining, silent auction and open bar. Various evening and overnight packages available. Reservations:
  • LOD COOK HOTEL: 3848 W. Lakeshore Drive, LSU campus. Live entertainment featuring Nashville recording artist David St. Romain. Dinner, open bar, deluxe overnight accommodations.
  • HILTON BATON ROUGE CAPITOL CENTER: 201 Lafayette St., downtown. “New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery,” an intriguing murder mystery full of Louisiana history. $300 per couple, includes New Year’s Eve dinner, cocktails, breakfast New Year’s Day, and murder mystery activities.
  • THIRD STREET FILM FESTIVAL NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY: 8 p.m.-until, River Terrace, Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St. Awards ceremony for the Third Street Film Festival. The film festival event is slated for 6:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, in the Manship Theatre. The New Year’s Eve party features live music, food and cocktails. A ticket to the Friday festival admits bearer into the Saturday night gala.
  • VFW HALL: South Choctaw. LA. 1 takes the stage starting at 8:30 p.m. Cover is $10; seating is limited. (225) 271-4369.
  • WBR KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: New Year’s Eve Dance, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., West Baton Rouge Community Center, 749 N. Jefferson, Port Allen. Entertainment and dance music provided by Van & Grace Broussard with the Bayou Boogie Band. $25 per person. BYOB. (225) 938-2224.

Outlying areas

  • FLEUR DE LIS DROP, FIREWORKS, JACKSON SQUARE: 9 p.m.-until, Decatur Street stage, Jackson Square, New Orleans. Nine-foot-high fleur de lis descends a 25-foot pole atop the old Jax Brewery building followed by a fireworks display.
  • LOUISIANA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: 9:30 a.m.-noon, 420 Julia St., New Orleans. New Year’s Eve celebration. Kid-friendly show with confetti drop and balloon release at noon. Tickets $10-$12 at the door.
  • LOUISIANA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF ACADIANA: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 201 E. Congress St., Lafayette. Children’s New Year’s Noon Carnival Countdown. $6 per person.
  • MONTELEONE HOTEL: 214 Royal St., New Orleans. New Year’s Eve with Luther Kent performing in the Carousel Bar. No cover charge for this event.
  • OTTOWAY PLANTATION: 31025 La. 1, White Castle. New Year’s Eve Gala, featuring seven-course dinner, music and dancing. Entertainment provided by Mary Beth Broussard with Ned Fasullo’s Fabulous Little Big Band. Evening also includes midnight fireworks on the levee with champagne. Various evening and overnight packages available.
  • PARAGON CASINO: Marksville. Ring in the New Year Atrium Block Party. Party favors and live entertainment featuring Rod Antoon. Free. For $15, revelers can see Avery Michaels in concert at the Paragon Ballroom, or Cypress City performing on the Pelican Stage.
  • ROYAL SONESTA: 300 Bourbon St., New Orleans. Grammy-winning Irvin Mayfield & the Jazz Playhouse Revue. Five-course dinner, wine and champagne. Reservations: (504)553-2299.
  • RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL: 921 Canal St., New Orleans. New Year’s Eve Black Tie Dinner, 8-9 p.m., reception; dinner, 9 p.m. to the New Year. $250. (504) 524-1331.
  • AUDUBON ZOO: 6500 Magazine St., New Orleans. Zoo Year’s Eve, Capitol One Stage and field inside the zoo. Kids’ show featuring local performers and musicians. Free event with regular zoo admission.