On a sweltering Friday in early September, Jonathan and Drew Scott are showing no signs of New Orleans’ late summer heat -- 95 degrees by early afternoon -- as they film their new series, Brothers Take New Orleans. The two “Property Brothers” are with their third sibling, J.D., and Hoda Kotb at the Court of Two Sisters in the heart of the city’s French Quarter discussing that week’s results of their latest challenge: remodeling a duplex destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
The show, which premieres Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. ET, is the latest spin-off of the Scott brothers’ successful Property Brothers franchise, which includes Buying and Selling, Brother vs. Brother, Property Brothers: At Home and Property Brothers: At Home on the Ranch.
“I will say that Hoda is loved more by one of the brothers,” Drew tells ET from upstairs at the Court of Two Sisters, where the crew has retreated from the heat after filming the segment. “And made the other cry.”
Kotb is one of several celebrity judges -- including NCIS: New Orleans’ Scott Bakula and Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV’s new series Home Town -- tasked with determining a winner as the brothers renovate different spaces in side-by-side shotgun-style homes over four weeks.
“The cool thing is that we’re all friends and obviously Drew does great work,” Jonathan adds. “But I’m confident that I’m making this house beautiful too. So regardless which way it goes, we’re getting families back together. We focus on the fact that we’re helping someone in need and not the fact that it’s just a sibling rivalry.”
Partnering with SBP, a New Orleans-based nonprofit with a mission to minimize the time between disaster and recovery, Jonathan and Drew are not just filming another spin-off, they’re also contributing to the area’s ongoing recovery in the decade since Hurricane Katrina laid waste to large parts of Louisiana.
“We’ve got neighbors coming over saying, ‘I didn’t think that house was ever going to get fixed up’ and ‘I miss our neighbor,’” Jonathan says of the show’s renovated property, which sat vacant for 11 years. The project will mark SBP’s 1,140th home rebuild.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, the brothers first visited New Orleans in 2007 during Mardi Gras and have felt connected to the community ever since. They also distinctly remember watching the devastation unfold in late August of 2005, and admire how that fighting spirit lives on.
“There’s a lot of love for the city and, even after the devastation of Katrina, a lot of love and support for people here,” Drew says. “That’s why we wanted to come be a part of that.”
“People here are so warm and they’re so inviting,” Jonathan adds, reflecting on the floods that affected several parishes throughout southern Louisiana weeks prior to ET’s visit to the set. “You see everyone come together. You see everyone here go down to help there because when Hurricane Katrina happened in New Orleans, everyone came from Baton Rouge to help here.”
Of course, there are all the other pleasures of New Orleans that both brothers love. “The food, the music, the fun vibe down here,” Drew says, listing off the reasons they continue to come back.
“We’ve been trying to eat as much food as possible,” Jonathan adds.
Brothers Take New Orleans will not be strictly focused on the renovation, giving audiences a chance to explore the city with Jonathan and Drew. There’s live jazz music in the streets, beignets at Café du Monde, the world-famous cemeteries and wresting with alligators.
“When we’re shooting any of these shows, we want to find the craziest places we can go to,” Jonathan says. “I’m going antiquing one day and Drew wants to stop. He wanted me to wrestle an alligator!”
Even with their tight production schedule, the brothers were able to set aside some time for adventure, including getting in a pen with a 900-pound alligator. “There was nothing between us and certain death,” Jonathan jokes, adding: “I can’t say wrestling gators was even on my bucket list, but it was fun.”
One thing that probably won’t make it on the show is Drew’s shoe obsession. Jonathan told Parade magazine that his brother has 180 pairs. While Drew wouldn’t cough up how many he actually has, he did admit: “I have a lot of shoes.”
“I brought just the bare minimum,” he says when asked how many made it down to New Orleans for the production. “I did not bring suits because it’s, you know, 117 degrees and 95 percent humidity.”
OK, so maybe the heat did get to them just a little.