How 'Zombies' are Making for Good Neighbors in Senoia

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Security around the Walking Dead site is very tight, so it was amazing that we could get even within a block up their working set. I talked with Executive Producer Tom Luse about the show’s relationship with the town of Senoia while we stood outside the gates to the Alexandria set.

“We are not the easiest show in the world to be around.  There are no planes, trains, automobiles, electricity. So we have to have a tremendous amount of control and the city of Senoia gave us literally to turn out the lights, to let the grass grow, to the kind of things that makes our show special,” Luse said.

He said the city of Senoia in Coweta County has not been not only a great artistic backdrop for the hit show the Walking Dead, it has been an important partner in show’s success.

 “When you are dealing with an apocalyptic society you ask a lot of the place you live in.  There are traffic signs all around town when we film because zombies don’t drive cars. We do ask for a lot of cooperation and it’s been terrific, the police, the mayor, the city manager have all helped us tremendously,” Luse said.

Streets must be closed. Grass and weeds grow here--well like grass and weeds but in a zombie apocalypse. And everyday fans flock here from around the world.  On Main Street in the middle of even a normal work day it’s difficult to find a parking space because of all the out-of-towners visiting.

The city has benefited.  There is not a vacant store front here.  And 15 more retail spaces are about to be built and they are already fully leased.

Frank Maguire owns Maguire’s pub and can remember how desolate main street was six years ago.

“There were about five businesses here and tumble weeds blowing down the street, as like to say,” according to MaGuire.

The producers said they too have a responsibility for keeping up their end of this unique relationship:

“I think a big part of having a long term relationship like our show does with this community is to listen and give back,” Luse said.

The season premiere of the sixth season of the Walking Dead airs October 11th on AMC.