In 2014 Nic Pizzolato’s True Detective snuck onto our screens, courtesy of consistent quality merchants HBO, whose previous endeavors included showstoppers The Sopranos, The Wire and Game of Thrones. True Detective was immediately unique in many ways; it had two bona fide movie stars in the leading roles, featured reams of philosophical monologues about existential topics, and took place over three different time periods (convincingly too, which is no small feat). Despite a finale which didn’t quite live up to the hype, when all was said and done, viewers were left feeling that they’d just witnessed one of the best crime dramas ever made.
Like Breaking Bad before it, a large part of True Detective’s identity lay in the locations. Set in the swamps and farms of Louisiana, the show always feels authentic, with the isolation of the locale adding to the oppressive atmosphere Pizzolato and director Cary Fukunaga managed to conjure up in each of its eight episodes.
If you’re a fan of the show and are looking to make a bucket list trip down south, you can get right into the True Detective spirit (if that’s really where you want to be) by visiting some locations the show was shot at. Check out BUCKiTDREAM to see if you can find any like-minded TD fans, then keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we guide you through the strange land of lost Carcosa.
Stop Off at Erath The site of the murder that kicks off the events of the series and brings Rust Cohle and Marty Hart together, Erath holds a prominent place in True Detective mythology. A tiny town nestled in the heart of Cajun country, a visit to Erath is the perfect starting point for a TD tour. Unfortunately, the exact spot where the unfortunate Dora Lange is discovered is on private property, but a hike around any of the swampy plains on either side of Erath will certainly get you in the right frame of mind. The scenery is loaded with atmosphere and much like the show itself, everything seems to be furnished in a layer of grit. Erath’s Acadian Museum will provide you with a perfect retrospective history of the local Cajun community.
Investigate the Creole Nature Trail Despite being the location of the harrowing end game of True Detective, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is one of the most stunning excursions Louisiana has to offer. This expanse of swampy wetlands is home to reptiles, birds, butterflies and even the odd serial killer (not really), and a journey through the rugged Louisiana terrain will get you up close and personal with the state’s unique geography. It’s got beaches, rivers, marshes, and lashings of Cajun culture; you can fish and crab along the Trail, as well as charter an airboat to skim the swamps in style if you’re the thrill-seeking type.
Address: 1205 N Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA 70601
Latch on to Lake Charles Another grisly murder takes place in Lake Charles in True Detective world, but in real life, the area is a beautiful, relaxed tourist spot that features plenty of things to see and do. It’s not strictly a lake (more like an area) and you can find it along the Creole Nature Trail. There are museums, galleries, golfing, restaurants and spas to explore, which will put you right in touch with Lake Charles fascinating history. For the True Detective buffs among you, there are a number of locations that you can venture to, set in and around the main hub, including the beautiful lake where a key plot point is revealed at the end of episode seven.
Inspect the Town of Eunice The end of episode two features a remarkable burnt out church that many viewers are sure to remember; Cohle and Hart pick up a major clue there which sets them off into the main thrust of the story. The church itself is gone, but the location (complete with the ominous industrial skyline) can be found just outside the town of Eunice. If you’re a fan of music you’re going to want to spend some time here; Eunice is practically the home of Creole music (a form of Louisiana folk music) and you can learn all about it, and other fascinating aspects of the Cajun culture, in this little town.
True Detective was successful for many reasons, but one of the key ingredients was undoubtedly the ‘psychoshpere’ of Louisiana, as Det. Cohle might put it. Even if you’re not a fan of the show a trip down south can be a once in a lifetime experience, affording you a chance to see a side of America that you definitely haven’t witnessed before. Forget about the failings of the second season and return to the roots of one of the greatest crime shows that’s ever been made as it gears up for its make-or-break third outing. BUCKiTDREAMERS, prepare to visit the strange land of Carcosa and kneel before the Yellow King.