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the only real old-school movie theater in new orleans. obviously run by people who care about movies. they even run midnight showings of cult films on weekends. i love this place dearly. if given the choice, i wouldn’t see movies anywhere else. alas, with the single-screen, you only get a single choice of movie to see, and it’s been quite a while since they showed anything i was particularly interested in seeing.
that marquee lit up at night is truly a sight to behold… just gorgeous. unfortunately, the joy is no longer a movie theater, so my interest ends at the beauty of the marquee. in it’s last few years as a movie theater, the joy was a mess… terrible conditions, loud, obnoxious and possibly dangerous patrons, etc. but i have a lot of fondness for that sort of grindhouse atmosphere, so i sort of miss those days.
every time i’ve ever been to this theater, i vow to never go back. unfortunately, it’s the easiest theater in the new orleans metro area for me to get to. before the renovations of the last few years, accommodations were fairly sparse and uncomfortable, but it was the only local theater where one could see indie/arthouse/foreign flicks. since the renovations, seating is a lot more comfortable, but there are problems. programming is about a 50/50 split between indie stuff and mainstream hollywood blockbusters. the highly touted fine-dining atmosphere comes with issues. ticket prices are very steep compared to other theaters. there is no longer a concession stand, so all food and beverage sales are handled by a wait staff; this means that there is a constant parade of people walking through the aisles and in front of the screen during the feature. moreover, in the dozens of times i have been to this theater, not once has my food/drink order come without a hitch: they bring me the wrong order, or bring my order to another patron, or forget to bring the entire order. on one occasion, they never brought my order to me at all, and i had to demand my money back after the movie was over. don’t get me wrong, the accommodations are very nice, but if this is the price i have to pay for comfortable seating, i’d much rather go to a sticky-floored grindhouse.
the theater was open at least as late as 1994, as i saw tim burton’s “ed wood” there. by that time, it was a discount theater, playing movies that had already been in release for several months, so the end couldn’t have been much later than that.