Will Smith has been in Louisiana filming the historical drama...

Will Smith has been in Louisiana filming the historical drama "Emancipation." Credit: AP / Thibault Camus

Fireworks returned to New Orleans on Independence Day thanks to actor Will Smith.

The "Independence Day" star picked up the roughly $100,000 tab for the pyrotechnics over the Mississippi River after learning that New Orleans didn't plan a 2021 show, city officials told news outlets. New Orleans canceled last year's fireworks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith, 52, has been in New Orleans working on his latest film, "Emancipation," which is being directed by Antoine Fuqua. "Emancipation" tells the story of a real-life slave named Peter who escaped a Louisiana plantation. Photos of the scars on Peter's back as a result of whipping exposed the brutality of slavery. He also would fight for the Union in the Civil War.

Smith moved production of the film from Georgia to Louisiana in early April after Georgia passed a new voting law that prompted a federal lawsuit contending that the overhaul was intended to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot.

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