Rise Haunted House - New Orleans Louisiana Haunted House
Rise Haunted House – Hammond, Louisiana
By Hauntworld Magazine
TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN LOUISIANA CLICK HERE ... https://www.hauntworld.com/louisiana-haunted-houses
To learn more about Louisiana's Rise haunted Houses visit their websit below:
OPENING NIGHT (2011)
After one last pep talk thanking everyone for the hard work towards getting the season underway, the soon to be haunted house actors were released to their scenes. Checking hair & makeup as they passed and tweaking their ripped & soiled Goodwill costumes, the owners gave encouragement to the nervous crew of actors. With raw training and little idea what to expect, these brave souls made up of family & friends were given one small task…scare people. Then the owners began their first walk-through, tweaking speaker volumes, double checking for loose screws, and repositioning lighting so as not to highlight those few still unfinished OSB walls. They had delayed opening night 1-week already, so if they intended to operate a successful haunted house business, the doors must open before getting too far into October, unfinished sets be damned.
The construction of RISE began only 7-months prior. Starting from bare patch of ground, more than half the construction time went into actual building of the building. An all metal 10,000 sq. ft. frame with a sheet metal exterior and a wooden facade extruding from the front mimicked a bed and breakfast on which the haunt was themed. In the center of the building, 9 ft. off the ground, was a 14 x 14 ft. room housing the main electrical and lighting equipment, fire system, video surveillance and stacks of audio amplifiers. Branching off from the control room in every direction was a 3 ft. wide catwalk stretching over most of the attraction where one could peer down into practically every room of the haunt. At the time, the catwalk was seen as a convenient way to get to and from the control room and into actor stations strategically placed throughout the attraction. On the very first night, it was quickly realized how much having a vantage point above the scenes could greatly benefit the show.
After completing the walk-through of the haunt, the ticket booth got a radio call. It was time to open the show. With eerie sounds flooding an empty parking lot, the waiting began. Fifteen minutes after the doors opened with no customer in sight, fear starts to set in. Owner, Nevelle Laiche, humorously recalls that night, “Isn’t there a saying, ‘If you build it, they will come?’ What movie was that? Field of Dreams…Right? Was that based on a true story? In that moment, I realized even friends & family won’t show because they’re already here to act in the haunt. After 20 minutes of nail biting, a car pulled into the parking lot. What a relief. One is better than none. Then CRAP, they turned around. I remember thinking whose idea was it to build this stupid haunt anyway?”
After 30 minutes a few cars started trickling in. Play-by-play hails over the radio blasted out for every vehicle as if it were a sporting event. “Two cars just pulled in.” “Lady and two girls walking to the ticket booth” “Group of three heading to the front door.” At this point fear turns to panic. Actual real-life paying customers ready to enter. Now time to produce. Will they actually scare someone? From the catwalk, all owner’s peered through a crack in the window overlooking the grand entry. They watched as guests were led into the first room and the door closed behind them, wondering the whole time if a huge mistake was made or a thriving business was launched.
RISE was conceived in a most unconventional way. Unlike many haunt owners, the creators of RISE new nothing about haunted houses or haunting when they started the business. They were not home haunters nor actors nor haunt enthusiasts. RISE was built by entrepreneurs who got bitten by the haunt bug after Davy Plaisance’s son convinced his dad to let him throw a Halloween party. The cost of entry into this party? Guests would have to enter and survive a haunted house! The term haunted house was a far stretch. Black plastic walls, cheap Walmart Halloween props and dollar store masks provided the backdrop. Boom boxes playing creepy sounds downloaded from the internet set the mood and an air compressor in the fireplace with a quick release valve provided the main scare. Overall it was 250 sq. feet of pure cheesy horror and everyone had blast. The next day Davy makes a call to Nevelle, his brother-in-law, with an idea to open a professional haunt in Davy’s work shop, but that was quickly shot down by Davy’s wife, Mindi. If it was going to happen, it must be on the vacant land he owned located next to some land Nevelle and his wife Shontay owned. “It took a lot of convincing to get the wives on board,” recalls Davy, “Eventually the ladies caved and RISE was born! But honestly, the wives’ decision to build RISE in this location has been a key to our success. Having a permanent location with room to expand has been essential in growing the business and drawing repeat customers to the attraction.”
As the first guests moved through the haunt, room by room they were followed from above. Watching the actors deliver their scene and noticing how the guests reacted to the movements and scares was indispensable in tweaking the show to get the most out of the sets and actors. As the first group passed through the library the first big startle was upon them and perfectly timed to get their attention as she rose from the chair, finger to lips…SHHHH. As the drop panel hit, the librarian lunged, and the group dropped to the floor. Simultaneously, the monster lurched out from the drop panel opening and shouted…WHOO HOO! “Well, at least it wasn’t BOO,” Mindi chuckled, “Having ladders extending down from the catwalk, it was easy for me to climb down into the actor station and quickly give our over eager zombie some needed vocal tips.”
The haunt party that sparked the idea of building a professional haunt was in early October 2010, so for the remainder of that season, the owners visited haunts in the area to learn what it takes to operate a seasonal haunt attraction. RISE is located on the outskirts Hammond, Louisiana, a small college town midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In the haunt world, that’s about 45 minutes from 13th Gate and an hour from House of Shock. In visiting those behemoth haunts, they found great inspiration, but it was actually some of the lesser known haunts in the area that provided them the conviction that this could be accomplished. Upon realizing they had the skills and team that could put on a great show, they got to work. Davy, being a general contractor and former tattoo artist, had the building and artistry background it would take to construct and detail the haunt and the knowledge of how to run a business. After all, he and his wife Mindi, owned and operated rental property along with her brother Nevelle Laiche and wife Shontay. Nevelle, a computer programmer by trade was very skilled in technology and took the reins when it came to finding the props, animating the scenes, and installing the lighting, audio, & security cameras. Davy’s dad, David Plaisance, had constructed metal buildings for 20+ years and was handy with torch & welding machines. Nevelle and Mindi’s father, Ricky Laiche and his wife Cheryl also joined the business. Ricky, very keen at carpentry, would be essential in construction & prop making. With a well-rounded team in place, plans for RISE began to take shape.
With hard work as the formula, RISE got better and better for seasons to come. Plus professionalism & courtesy added to the mix. From the ticket booth to the parking lot, customer-friendly service always greeted their guests. Secondly, the attractions had to have a high level of detail that would immerse the customers from start to finish. Thematic music and sounds echoed through the haunted house, queue line and parking lot. The lighting and detail of the rooms along with the costumes had to fit the theme and story. Everything was designed to draw the customer in and have them suspend reality for a spell. Acting would also be a key to a successful show. Without the budget for huge animatronics (or even small ones for that matter), the show must rely on tried and true scares and the enthusiasm and energy of the actors to awe inspire guests.
NEW! Zombie Paintball (2012-2016)
The plan to expand the haunt and complete the full layout took a detour after the 2012 Transworld Halloween & Attraction Show. Instead of expanding the walkthrough, RISE offered a second attraction, a new interactive form of entertainment called Zombie Paintball. South Louisiana had never seen anything like it, putting RISE on the map of must-see haunts that season! This provided a dual revenue stream for RISE. Additionally, it attracted non-traditional haunt goers who were not up to the scares of a typical haunted house. To show appreciation at the end of the 2012 season, the owners loaded up all Zombie Paintball crew onto the paintball trailers and with guns locked and loaded. They headed into the makeshift town for some zombie revenge. With Davy suited up and padded down, he lead all owners, now targets, into the field where they patiently waited. Tractors pulled the anxious load down the trail. Immediately, pink glowing balls, zoomed passed their heads & limbs, most hitting their targets. “We soon realized how bad of an idea this was,” laughed Davy, “but you can’t claim we don’t have fun!”
The Cemetery (2013)
While Louisiana is not home to many haunts, what it lacks in quantity is made up in quality. Highly detailed haunts with 30+ minute walk-throughs are the norm, so they decided against creating The Cemetery as a third-revenue, separate attraction. Instead, they built a 7000 sq. ft. New Orleans’ style cemetery into the main attraction and increased ticket prices only slightly. Many of the decisions these owners make give up short term profits for long term gain. One of the reasons visitors return year after year is the great value for their dollar. The original layout for the graveyard called for 102 above ground tombs, countless walls, a caretaker shack and a chapel, but once again time was the enemy. Scaled back to 48 tombs but keeping all other planned features, the walk-through more than doubled the length of the
The following year was myriad of upgrades for RISE. Knowing that parts of the haunt were not up to the level of detail and scare factor that was envisioned, they set about fixing the underwhelming sections. Being aware of the weak areas of the attraction and getting feedback from customers can go far when it comes to raising the level of the show. And after a visit from the actor Will Smith the prior year and an embarrassing moment when he had to use an unfinished makeup and blood splattered restroom, 2014 saw the expansion of the makeup room and bathroom facilities. In 2015, Hauntcon made its way to Louisiana with RISE as a featured haunt on the tour. Opening up the haunt to industry peers was quite nerve racking, but feedback was positive, and 2015 marked their best show year so far!
RISE Escape Rooms (2016)
A month prior to their grand opening season, Davy & Nevelle were in Baton Rouge rounding up some last minute props and happened to be near 13th Gate. “They were holding auditions that weekend and when you're haunt is 45-minutes from one of the best haunts in the country, it’s customary to stop by and introduce yourself. Right?” joked Davy. Not really, but they introduced themselves anyway. “Owner, Dwayne Sanburn, was cordial and great, but he must’ve thought we were a bunch of crazy rednecks putting up plastic walls,” recalls Davy, “Over the past 6 years we’ve become close friends with many haunt owners but none as close as Dwayne,” So when the owner of one of the most successful haunts in the world calls and says it might be a good idea to look into Escape Games, one must listen, and in late March, they began construction of RISE Escape Rooms.
In February 2016 the games were complete and ready for players. They took the same approach to building their games as they did with the haunt, detailed and well themed with challenging puzzles and great customer service, and so emerged another successful attraction from the creators of RISE.
The Risewell Mental Asylum and Research Facility (2016)
Major flooding occurred in August all across South Louisiana causing damage to every attraction at RISE. It was questionable if the new attraction, an asylum housed in a 3000 sq. ft. addition, would be ready for opening night.
With all hands on deck and working 16 hour days, cleanup was a major undertaking. With paint barely dry, RISE debuted the asylum four weeks later than expected. Having such a small footprint, a traditional walkthrough haunt would have been extremely short. Wanting to give the customers a longer show, they conceived a plan to lengthen the time in the attraction by holding patrons in a scene for a longer period of time; haunted house meets dark theatre. While not the first time it’s been done, this style of haunt is hard to pull off. With customers’ focus on the actor for 30 seconds to a minute, acting is crucial. They handed off the script and the casting to their stage manager, Taylor Dubois, who embraced the challenge with extreme enthusiasm. The ensemble that was put together was top notch and on a nightly basis the actors in the asylum were highly praised. Another twist to the asylum was certain actors would be allowed to gently touch the guests with stroke on the cheek or a sweep of the hair. In the end, just the idea that the guest COULD be touched was more frightening than the actual interaction itself. Though the asylum needed some tweaking in detail, the new style and quality of this attraction attracted new visitors.
Over the past seven years RISE has continually and consistently expanded, upgraded and reinvented itself. They have reinvested financially and doubled down on their core values by providing great customer service and striving to ensure every visitor has an immersive and engaging experience. Future plans for RISE include a traditional hayride, more escape rooms and additional haunt-themed attractions. Aspiring to not only be a great haunt, RISE Haunted House and Escape Rooms aims to become known as a destination that offers a unique and innovative entertainment in the fall and year round.
TO FIND MORE HAUNTED HOUSES IN LOUISIANA CLICK HERE ... https://www.hauntworld.com/louisiana-haunted-houses
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