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Some time early Saturday evening, a gossip bomb of atomic propotions was dropped on the Internet — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were getting married in New Orleans. Within minutes some Web sites were even giving the name of the church where the ceremony was being held. Great story? Yes. If only it had been true.

So how did the rumor get started? OK! did some digging and uncovered what looks to be the unwitting source of the story.

First, OK! confirmed with sources at Louis Armstrong International Airport that Brad and Angie hadn’t been spied coming or going from the Big Easy since leaving New Orleans almost two weeks ago in a private jet, following an event featuring Brad and Bill Clinton on March 17. So if they did get married this weekend, it wasn’t in the French Quarter.

OK! then spoke to the proprietors of The French Quarter Wedding Chapel, which Star magazine had named as the location of the ceremony (only to back track on this a day later). They of course denied having performed the ceremony and claimed to have never even met the couple. They did, however, tell OK! they’d heard yet another rumor going around that Brangelina had said their "I do’s" at St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, the same spot where local boy Harry Connick Jr. once got married.

And it was at St. Louis Cathedral that OK! discovered what might have been the original inspiration for the rumors. Various merchants and locals around Jackson Square told OK! that there had been a lavish wedding at the church, with thousands spent on flowers and decorations.

The word around this part of town was that this wedding was costing in the $500,000 range — just the amount of money one would expect celebs of Brad and Angelina’s prominence and wealth to spend.

Additionally, an employee at Muriel’s restaurant, directly across the street from the cathedral told OK! she’d seen police barricades outside the church and that the caravan of cars leaving the ceremony received a police escort. Again, just what one would expect from the wedding of two of Hollywood’s biggest names.

So when one looks at it from the eye of an over-eager celeb reporter — huge wedding, police involvement, famous New Orleans couple — you can almost (repeat: almost) understand how a story like this becomes a rampant rumor.

Alas, all this to-do was merely for the wedding of a prominent, and presumably wealthy, New Orleans family. Explains one merchant, Larry, who saw the bride and groom: “They definitely weren’t famous."

Oh well… it was a good rumor while it lasted.

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