Filming for TV Show Expedition Unknown - The Pirate Jean Lafitte

Behind the Scenes look at filming for popular TV show on The Discovery channel about the lost pirate treasure of Jean Lafitte

This episode of Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates was on the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. Once again it was a great experience for me (Bradley Williamson)! Josh is a great guy and is very friendly and down to earth and he has a great crew that works with him on the episodes. I wanted to share my experience of what it is like to work with Josh and his team on his hit TV show now being aired on The Discovery Channel.


Filming for TV Show Expedition Unknown - The Pirate Jean Lafitte

Behind the Scenes of TV Show Expedition Unknown - The Pirate Jean Lafitte

Below is a link to watch the full episode from The Discovery Channel

expedition unknown jean lafitte with josh gates and bradley williamsonOnce again it was great working with Joshua Gates and his entire team for the show Expedition Unknown. They reached out to me because they knew of my extensive knowledge on the lore of pirates, piracy and pirate treasures. I have always found the history of pirates and piracy fascinating. The producers Shawn Michaels Emilie Dumay and the creator of the episode Aaron Schoonhoven reached out to me on a couple conference calls about doing an episode on the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. I shared with them some of my knowledge about the life of Jean Lafitte; his amazing acts of piracy and that he sided with the Americans against the British during the War of 1812. If Jean Lafitte had not come to the aide of the Americans they might have lost to the British. Also, The exotic and mysterious town of New Orleans was Jean Lafitte's base of operations.

One thing that always amazes me when I work with Josh and his team is the amount of research they do for each episode. All the information that is presented in each episode is accurate and based on extensive research. Even with all my knowledge about the pirate Jean Lafitte they had information about Jean Lafitte that even I didn't know.

expedition unknown jean lafitte treasure with josh gates and bradley williamsonInitially we all flew into New Orleans for some of the initial filming. I arrived before everyone so I took the time to rest up because I had been working hard on my studies towards my MD/PhD and some of my own expeditions that I was also working on. It was a nice hotel and I had a great room. Later when Josh got in and we got together I was impressed that he remembered me and was happy to see me and work with me. The reason I mention this is that Josh works very hard at the show and is constantly traveling and meeting people. In fact he travels so much and meets so many people that he told me of a time when he was at a town in Nepal and he thought he had not been there before but he knew where everything was so he realized that he must have been to this remote town in Nepal before and later he did remember it. I understand completely because sometime I wake up and my first thought is, what country am I in?

jean lafitte treasure expedition unknown with josh gates and bradley williamsonIt was great meeting Josh at the tavern in New Orleans that used to belong to Jean Lafitte. It is called Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar. It is at the corner of Bourbon St. and St. Philip. It is believed to be the oldest bar in America. The chart that I showed Josh was actually from the archives and was real. Some of the filming which didn't make the episode was when we were filming at a remote grave site at night where the remains of Jean Lafitte's brother, Pierre Lafitte, are believed to be buried. It was very mysterious, eerie and a little scary. It would have been great if they included that footage but I understand that they are limited in the amount of footage they can present because each episode is only an hour.

Also, it was January when we were filming and it was cold. For the scenes on the air-boat with Josh it was freezing when we were going at full speed because there was no where to hid from the wind. Actually I was hoping that my teeth weren't "chattering" when we were filming or when I had to do any of my speaking parts. We did spend a lot of time traveling in the air boats all through Barataria. For some of the scenes on the outer islands of Barataria it started raining but everyone was professional and we kept going with the production even in the rain with the cold temperatures. When working with Josh and his team it is a lot of hard work but everyone is always friendly and happy even when were are putting in 18 hour days. I can still remember even after a long day of filming watching Josh hard at work on his laptop preparing for another episode. I was also working on my laptop but in between filming I was studying Organic Chemistry for an upcoming test I had. So I guess both Josh and I similar in that we are always working and when on site we are focused and give it our all but as soon as filming is done you can find us working on our next projects.

As I mentioned it was a great experience working with Josh Gates and his team and I look forward to working with them again in the future on more episodes. I have also invited Josh and any of his team members to join me on any of my expeditions, even just as friends and to have a good time - they are all a great group.

behind the scenes expedition unknown jean lafitte treasure

This is a great photo! Before filming the scene of Josh and I on the air-boats exploring for Jean Lafitte's treasure. One of Josh's cameramen was joking around by putting himself in the mouth of a cement alligator and Josh joined in acting like he was holding the mouth of the alligator open to save his cameraman. It was such a great photo that you can see some of the other cameramen taking photos for themselves and even the writer for the episode Aaron Schoonhoven took a photo. And yes, so did I. As I said they all work really hard when on site but they also know how to have fun.

expedition unknown jean lafitte treasure behind the scenes

This is another good photo because it shows when we were filming how the production team was able to get some of their great footage. Sometimes we used a drone, along with cameras on our air-boat but a lot of the footage was captured by the second air-boat that we used on location. If you look you can see the cameramen filming us and the sound tech making sure our dialog was being recorded.