I’m a firm believer that there is a little bit of creativity in us all… but some more than others. And some even take this creativity to a level that benefits a community. Known by some as the Mastermind of Dark Attractions, tonight’s recipient of the first ever 10/31 Consortium Creativity Award has done just that. No one can argue that his level of creativity is unparalleled, and no one can argue that his creativity has put Baton Rouge on the Halloween map.
He started building haunted houses in 1993 while still working as a nurse. He built haunts in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and Beaumont, TX before making lasting roots in his current location with the start of the nationally recognized 13th Gate Haunted House in 2002. He has turned this creative passion of scaring innocent children and their unsuspecting parents into a successful and full time business that has greatly influenced the Baton Rouge community.
He has brought national attention such as The Travel Channel and The Weather Channel to the 13th Gate. Due to this national coverage, people from all over Louisiana and the nation hoard to the infamous 13th Gate Haunted House. With over 60,000 visitors going through the 13th Gate annually, you can imagine the economic impact the haunted house has had on Baton Rouge, and specifically the downtown area. He also brings pride to our community because the 13th Gate consistently is named in the top 10 list of best haunted attractions in the country. In. The. Country. And, in addition to the tourism impact, he employs hundreds of actors every year, allowing them to experiment with and develop their craft.
According to his wife Kathy of 15 years, “his creative process can be narrowed down to just one word…. Research. His research consists of seeing every horror movie there is, visiting other haunted houses, countless hours of searching the Internet for the perfect scene or picture. Even while on vacation, he has a knack for finding something whether it’s a facade, prop, make up, or costume that he feels will better the haunted house. He just never turns his brain off when it regards the haunted house. He would never ever be complacent and he will always strive to make the 13th Gate a fun filled time that the entire family will enjoy.” She further stated that “He has proven that hard work and complete dedication will overcome any obstacle. He is the epitome of the American Dream.”
He is not just paving the creative path in Baton Rouge, but also for some national haunt organizations as well. He sits on several committees for American Haunts, a national organization for the most successful and well-known haunted houses in the world. Additionally, he serves on the Buyer’s Board for Transworld’s Halloween Trade Show.
He has extraordinary originality and dedication in his creative pursuits. This exceptional creativity promises for amazing revelations in the future. 13th Gate Stage Manager, Jamie Schexnayder, said “There is no doubt that his potential for future achievement in creativity will be out of this world. He is definitely a creative genius.”
We couldn’t agree with Jamie more, and that is why Dwayne Sanburn is the first recipient of 10/31 Consortium’s Creativity Award. Additionally, the award will now be known as the Dwayne Sanburn Creativity Award.