New Orleans has long been a mysterious and exotic place. The locale has been the backdrop for myriad tales revolving about voodoo and ghosts. Witches, seers and voodoo priestesses like Marie Laveau wielded unlikely power over segments of the population due to their so-called powers. Several highly successful franchises from cult writers like Ann Rice and others have focused on vampires and other fictional creatures that go bump in the night. So, it is not surprising that the production company for "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" set up shop here last spring and started filming at a number of locations all over town for four months. Based on the first three of the twelve-volume "Saga of Darren Shan" by Darren Shan, the film stars John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, Jane Krakowski and Salma Hayek among others. While the Shan books don't specifically mention a particular city setting, New Orleans serves nicely as the fictional setting for this first film. Notice I said first film. I fully expect this one will be turned into at least two other sequels. It's just such a natural. The interesting point is that the young stars of "The Vampire's Assistant" are seen early in the film attending high school. The weird aspect here for me has nothing to do with the script. It's just the simple fact that the school depicted is, in fact, my own alma mater, the former Alcee Fortier High School, reorganized and renamed following Hurricane Katrina as Robert Mills Lusher Charter High School. Literally located a scant 15 blocks from my present domicile, Fortier High School was also my dad's school. His brother also attended. My Great Uncle Joseph Smith was the art instructor there for nearly 37 years from the day the school's doors opened. It does give one pause and I may check out the film just to see how many other scenes feature familiar settings.