Last week you asked your Amite Tangi Digest readers: “How has your business or personal life been affected by the ongoing filming of 2 Guns in Amite?”
Mr. Mathes, you’ve opened a window of opportunity for this reporter -- an “outsider” by definition whose never lived a day of her life in Amite. So indulge me if you will, and let me tell you what it’s like to watch this parish capital grow at record speed.
In early 2011, when I first began reporting for Action News 17 about the City of Amite, I knew then, just by watching, that this city was on the brink of something spectacular. Of course, Amite has always been something of a treasure to me. The “history buff” in me will delve into just about any historic, ancestral or cemetery research known to man; anything relating to how this region in our eclectic state came to be.
Heaven knows, Amite has plenty of that.
From the start I watched the Amite Chamber of Commerce come forward with ideas and dreams for this city. Chamber President Jeremy Adamson and his wife, Ashley, attended council meeting after meeting--pounding city sidewalks, too--urging folks to join this worthwhile organization to revitalize their great city.
And it worked.
At nearly 200 Chamber members throughout this time, made of up individuals and businesses parishwide, the Chamber is going strong with no signs of stopping. In fact, I’ve just returned from my first ever “dinner theater” production created by the Chamber, and already I’m looking forward to more. Plenty more.
Last year, I watched local artisan Charley Vance, along with many members from the Amite Arts Council, submit to the City Council a sketch of the 9/11 Memorial. At the time, that’s all it was. A rough draft on paper, and an idea.
Today, that fantastic marble monument stands strong at Coach Catha Park, appropriately enough next to the police and firefighter stations. It is mesmerizing. Just as history has recorded Amite City as early as 1813, the monument reminds our generations to come: “Never Forget.”
Also, the famed Royal Hotel across the street was endangered mere months ago, nearly demolished, almost extinct. Until, that is, a small group of local historians fought like hell to save it. Now, this century-old hotel, also recognized as an historical landmark for the State of Louisiana, is breathing new life into the city as we speak.
The very same can be said for Hotel Ponder’s resurrection, in addition to the Boston Restaurant in historic downtown that every single, living, breathing, human being on the face of the planet must try.
Incidentally, Amite held its own “Boston Tea Party” of sorts, back in 1947. Rather than dumping taxed tea into the harbor, bandits chose to dump cargoes of price-cut dairy milk into ditches instead.
Come to think of it, Amite even had its own Jessie James back in the day, when straight-laced schoolteacher and churchgoer Eugene Bunch went on a flurry of train robberies to include one right where the historic depot and police station reside today.
But I digress in history, as I so often do.
Amite City, you have arrived yet again. After years of hurricanes, storms and more storms, recession, and an oyster industry laced by an oil-soaked Gulf, your timing for this renaissance could not have been more perfect. I thank you.
So to finally answer your question Mr. Mathes: “How has my personal life been affected by the ongoing filming of 2 Guns in Amite?"
Its filming only confirms exactly what I knew was going to happen from the moment I stepped into your city to report. These are good people you have in local organizations such as the Amite Chamber of Commerce, Tangipahoa Tourism, Arts Council and Historical District. Many of whom I‘ve met and come to know, they volunteer their time, efforts and prayers not thinking much about their own notoriety, but what is in the best interest of their community.
These folks didn’t wait for their dreams to come true. They went out and made them happen. And as any Hollywood actor in the city as we speak will tell you, that’s the only way to be.
The end result being, Tangipahoa & Hollywood make a lovely couple. Indeed.
Reporter for Action News 17
PS: With the above being said, I riddle you this: Who wouldn’t want a peek at the "Glory-ous," critically acclaimed, Academy Award winner Denzel Washington? Or the multi-nominated, multi-winner, entrepreneur and family man, Mark “The Fighter” Wahlberg … hmmm?