Scary clowns, anatomical anomalies, fortunetellers and fame-starved starlets can all be found on American Horror Story: Freak Show, but they can also be spotted in the French Quarter on pretty much any given night.
The cast and crew of AHS fell in love with the city while filming AHS: Coven and decided to stay and film another season. Although Freak Show is canonically set in the sleepy town of Jupiter, Fla. during the 1950s, New Orleans can be transformed into Anytown, USA.
Obviously, there aren’t nearly as many recognizable landmarks as compared to Coven, but a few local haunts have popped up so far.
1) Camellia Grill (appears in “Monsters Among Us” and “Massacres and Matinees”)
Camellia Grill is one of New Orleans’ most beloved and historic eateries. It opened its doors in 1946 and has been winning over locals and tourists for the better part of a century. Camellia Grill is best known for its convivial servers, burgers and pecan pie.
The famous breakfast joint has enough old school pizzazz that it didn’t need much of a makeover to serve as a realistic diner of the nifty fifties. The no-frills grill has been the setting for our first introduction to characters Elsa Mars and Jimmy Darling. Another memorable Camellia Grill scene was when Jimmy and members of the freak show wanted to get lunch. What seems like a simple task turns violent within minutes. The fictional diner’s employees and patrons were unabashedly uncomfortable by the freaks and asked them to leave. When Jimmy protests that they are paying customers and refuses to leave, strongman Dell Toledo beats him up outside the restaurant.
2) Lakeview (appears in “Edward Mordrake: Part 1”)
Like most of our fair state, Lakeview began as an inhabitable swamp. After World War II, the area began to develop residentially. The neighborhood flourished until Hurricane Katrina devastated the 17th Street Canal, causing Lakeview to flood. Even though it took one of the hardest hits, the area has rebuilt and is bustling with activity.
When the town is placed under curfew because of a psychotic clown, children must do their trick-or-treating during daylight hours. If those Halloween drenched houses looked familiar, it’s because the scene was shot in the historic Lakeview area. In the scene, a young girl is trick-or-treating with her mother and friend. As the cliché goes, she is the sole witness to Twisty the Clown’s menacing presence. Her mother dismisses her protests and winds up paying the price for it later when Twisty follows them home and kidnaps the little girl’s older brother.
3) Second Line Soundstages (all episodes)
Second Line Soundstages isn’t quite as recognizable as the other entries on this list, but it’s New Orleanian nonetheless. Nestled in the Lower Garden District, the stages are meant to transform and reshape as different settings and worlds. In fact, the same stage was used last season as the interior for Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. This season, the soundstage has been remodeled to be the freaks’ primary hangout, the big top. So far this season, we’ve been treated to larger-than-life musical numbers, heartfelt monologues, supernatural thrills and delectable drama all in this central location.
4) F&M Patio Bar (appears in “Pink Cupcakes” and “Test of Strength”)
F&M Patio Bar is a magnet for the college crowd in New Orleans with its cheap drinks, dancing and late night kitchen. The smoky hangout is spacious compared to most other watering holes in the area. F &M’s features a main bar area, home to the infamous covered pool table for some elevated dancing, an upstairs disco venue and an outdoor patio.
For its debut in American Horror Story, F&M’s was transformed into a seedy 50s gay bar called High Noon. It appears at the tail end of the fifth episode when spoiled psychopath Dandy decides on this location to find his next murder victim. Also in this scene, we find out Dell, previously only depicted as straight, is having an affair with a young john. Later in the seventh episode, Dell returns to the bar and is spotted by con artist Stanley, who later blackmails him about his sexuality.