After the first teaser trailer showed up recently for The Princess and the Frog, Disney's return to traditional hand-drawn-style animation, a lot of the blogosphere was labeling the film potentially racist. Hopefully the political correctness circles have died down a bit, though (or are at least concentrating too hard on Tropic Thunder), and we can appreciate some beautiful new artwork from the film without wondering how it might be reflective of stereotypes and whatnot. Over at DisneyAnimation.com, there is a gallery of "visual development" images that give us more of the background depicting 1920s New Orleans and its vicinity. For someone like me, who just recently revisited the Big Easy, the artwork is enough to get me excited about the movie, which unfortunately I must wait for until Christmas 2009.

The Princess and the Frog is a jazzy musical fairy tale based on the classic story "The Frog Princess" and features the first ever African American Disney princess (voiced by Anika Noni Rose). Other characters include a trumpet-playing alligator and a love-sick Cajun firefly. And clearly, from what these new images show us, it's set in New Orleans' French Quarter, as well as the Garden District (or maybe the mansion in this image is further outside the city) and on the bayou, where apparently someone lives in a shipwrecked boat, Swiss Family Robison style. Hopefully, since the story takes place during Prohibition, we'll get to see some swamp-set bootlegging going on.

Be sure to also visit the other project pages on DisneyAnimation.com, for minor info on 2010's Rapunzel and the Phillip K. Dick adaptation King of the Elves, set for a 2012 release. I'm sure there will be more artwork added for those titles in the future, so keep the site bookmarked.