The location: The Bon Temps Cottages
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A cluster of small, white, wooden homes.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
In Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
We first see this small collection of little
white houses in Episode 3 ("Mine") of Season 1, when
(It appears that Dawn has grown accustomed to sex with vampires - who don't seem to have impotency problems.)
Jason, angry and standing outside her door, yells at Dawn and calls her names (we can see that Dawn's house number is 5044), drawing the attention of a nosy neighbor who comes outside to see what is going on (her house number is 5042).
We see the same homes later when Sookie goes to Dawn's home to wake her up (at the request of Sam), and discovers Dawn's dead body - she's been murdered in her bed.
In Episode 4 ("Escape from Dragon House") of Season One, we see that the police have arrived on the scene, and a number of residents have gathered outside to watch what's going on.
Among them are Rene (a co-worker of Jason's) and his fiance Arlene (a fellow waitress at Merlotte's), plus Hoyt Fortenberry (another of Jason's co-workers) and his overbearing mother, Maxine.
Arlene asks Rene to go inside and bring out some refreshments for their friends. Rene enters another of the small cottages (where the number reads 5048), indicating that he & Arlene (and her kids) also live in the same cluster of homes. (Hoyt and his mother may live there as well, since they are among the spectators, but that isn't made clear.)
It's mentioned (by a police officer) that Sam Merlotte is the landlord - although it's not clear if he's the landlord for all of the cottages or just Dawn's. (Which brings up the question: If Sam owns Merlotte's Bar & Grill and he owns one or more rental cottages in Bon Temps, why on earth is he living in a trailer?)
Naturally, Jason is arrested as a suspect, and is led away from the scene in handcuffs. The nosy neighbor comes forth and tells how Jason & Dawn got into a fight the night before and how he called her names.
We also see the neighbors watch as Dawn's body is carried from the house by the Coroner and put in a van.
a later scene, we see Sam use his landlord key to enter Dawn's cottage,
and then mysteriously roll around on Dawn's bed, smelling the sheets where
Dawn's dead body was found. (At the time, it hadn't been disclosed that
Sam is a shape-shifter, who usually takes the form of a dog - so the scene
leads the casual viewer to guess that Sam might be the murderer, returning
to the scene of the crime.)
The cottages are seen again in Season 3 (episode 5), when Sam's miserable relatives move into the block (Joe-Lee becomes the handyman), and Terry moves in with Arlene.
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A collection of real cottages - but nowhere
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This unusual cluster of tiny houses can be found at 5038 Ellenwood Drive, in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
The group consists of seven small houses on a large lot. All but one of the homes have just one bedroom and one bath. The property (including all of the cottages) was listed for sale recently for $925,000.
Since they are separate homes, they have seven different addresses: The small house used as Dawn's home is at 5044 Ellenwood Drive . The nosy neighbor was at 5042 Ellenwood . And Rene & Arlene's cottage was at 5048 Ellenwood.
The cottages are set back from the road, on the east/NE side of Ellenwood Drive, next to a church, just south of Colorado Blvd. That's a few blocks southeast of the Eagle Rock Plaza mall.
Rock is located about six miles northwest of downtown L.A., between Glendale
(on the west) and Pasadena (on the east).
is a good Google
Here is a photo of them from the recent real estate listing:
here are some good photos of the cottages, courtesy of Mike at MovieshotsLA.com.
Warning: these are private homes! Do not trespass
on their property,
Update: In early 2011, Mike sent me a news story
indicating that these cottages would soon be burned to the ground, as
part of the show. It appears that the owner wants to tear down the
cottages, so this is a clever way of demolishing the structures, while
making money (from filming fees) in the process.
to the article, "Bungalows on the property are being equipped with gas
canisters attached to their front windows—to give the appearance that an
entire structure is being consumed in flames. In reality, only the
front of each house will be ignited by the controlled burn, but it will
result in the total obliteration of these structures."
(The show did something similar back in the first season, when they burned down the Shreveport vampire house, in Episode 7, "Burning House of Love".)
A. For me, this was the most difficult to find of the "True Blood" locations (in Southern California).
Houses are always tricky, but I had a few clues to go on. First, they were distinctive looking homes - obviously very small houses, very closely spaced in a row, in a semi-rural setting... all of which is very out of the ordinary for L.A.
And then there was that house number: 5044, clearly visible on Dawn's cottage.
But there are a hell of a lot of 5044's in Greater Los Angeles. And I couldn't be positive that it wasn't somewhere in Louisiana!
The question was where to start looking... There were a number of city names that had been floating out in cyberspace for a long time, as supposed filming locations for "True Blood": Long Beach, Hawthorne, Sun Valley, Eagle Rock... along with the Louisiana locations such as Shreveport and Mansfield.
Fortunately, I had already managed to find the matching addresses for Long Beach and Hawthorne, and I knew that Sun Valley was where they filmed the junkyard trial scene. So I figured it couldn't hurt to start my search in Eagle Rock, just in case.
I went to Bing aerial photos and started mapping out every 5044 address in the general Eagle Rock area. There were a lot of them, which was encouraging, but which also meant a lot of work.
I looked at every single instance of the address, until I found a cluster of small homes that looked like it just might be the right ones. Then I switched to Google StreetView for a closer look, and compared what I saw to what was shown on the show. And sure enough, it was a perfect match.
After that, it was just a matter of doing a little research to find out a few more details about the cottages.
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