Civic Theatre

533 Baronne Street,
New Orleans, LA 70113

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Civic Theater, New Orleans, LA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1906 for legitimate theatre, it underwent a number of name changes until it became the Civic Theatre in 1951. I was never inside, but it always looked to me to have been one of those alley-jumper theatre’s where the entrance is on a main street but the auditorium was built across from the building housing the entrance, connected to it by a tunnel or bridgeway.

It apparently closed in the late-1960’s and sat vacant for many years, and by the late-1970’s it had been converted into a discotheque. In 2004 there were plans to convert into loft/warehouse units, but this never happened, and only the front of the building was converted. It again operates as a live theatre, with entry at the rear of the building, and its vertical sign has been restored.

Contributed by Chris Walczak

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

joysmovies
joysmovies on May 23, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Here’s a picture of the Civic showing West Side Story:
View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 23, 2009 at 10:58 am

Here is a December 2008 article about landmark designation:
http://tinyurl.com/a2dc2p

spectrum
spectrum on April 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

From the google street view, the auditorium building has no windows punched into the sides – perhaps some of the original interior still exists?

QuentinE
QuentinE on May 2, 2010 at 2:33 am

The theatre was originally named The Shubert, planned by the New York Shubert Brothers as the New Orleans branch of their nationwide chain of legitimate theatre outlets. Built by Equitable Real Estate Corporation, headed by Emilien Perrin, Sr. When the Shuberts decided to close it, Perrin took it over, renamed it The Lafayette, updated it with new moving picture equipment, projectors and screen. It was built in the then popular arcade style, with a covered walkway in between two retail stores facing Baronne Street, into the auditorium. The name was changed a number of times, from Lafayette to Star, to Poche, then finally to Civic.

ArthurHardy
ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Announcing a book about New Orleans Movie Theaters

THEREâ€\S ONE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
The History of the Neighborhood Theaters in New Orleans
is being written by 89-year-old Rene Brunet, the dean of the motion picture industry in Louisiana, and New Orleans historian and preservationist Jack Stewart. The 160-page,coffee table book will be released in November and is being published by Arthur Hardy Enterprises, Inc. Attention will be focused on 50 major neighborhood and downtown theaters, culled from a list of nearly 250 that have dotted the cityâ€\s landscape since the first “nickelodeon” opened in 1896 at 626 Canal Street. The book will be divided by neighborhoods and will open with a map and a narrative about each area. Each major theater will feature “then and now” photographs, historic information, and a short series of quotes from famous New Orleanians and from regular citizens who will share their recollections.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
We are trying to acquire memorabilia and additional photos of this theater for this publication. (deadline July 1.) You will be credited in the book and receive a free autographed copy if we publish the picture that you supply. Please contact Arthur Hardy at or call 504-913-1563 if you can help.

nolatruth
nolatruth on August 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Civic theatre is alive and well. It has not been turned into condos and you may be very well surprised to know it is more alive than you ever believed…..

krislor13
krislor13 on June 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

This was actually a disco in 1979. We went on a senior trip to New Orleans and went here to eat and dance. I have a picture.

GeorgeD
GeorgeD on April 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

Happy News about the Civic….. although a 2004 Times Picayune article talked about the condo conversion or apartment conversion of the theater —– it NEVER HAPPENED!!! The theater is alive and well and I attended a play there last night! Many of the original architectural details are in place, in a bright white auditorium with a beautiful chandelier. The original entrance is taken over by the apartment building next door so you enter from the back, but the theater is ALIVE AND WELL!!!! Hurray! www.civicnola.com

spectrum
spectrum on August 19, 2014 at 9:34 am

The above article (Forbes) has some nice interior photos both pre and post renovation. Nicely restored. It’s all white inside, but from some of the photos it appears that has been the color scheme for many years.

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