900 Elysian Fields Avenue,
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The Elysium Theatre opened in November 1903. It was one of several theatres built in New Orleans by Henry Greenwald.
It was re-named the Dreamland in 1922. The Dreamland became part of the United Theatre chain. At some time, there was a fire in the theatre, which caused structual damage to the balcony, which was re-inforced, but the balcony did not re-open.
It continued to operate as a neighborhood theatre, until 1965, when it was bought by Arthur Barnett, and re-named the Paris, featuring adult movies.
The theatre was purchased in the early-mid 70’s by George Echols company ITU, and continued showing adult product.
In 1980, Essex, one of the better adult film companies of the day, purchased the Paris and continued to operate it until 1987 when the theatre closed.
In 1989, there was a massive fire that destroyed this history filled theatre. Prior to the fire, I seem to remember reading that someone was interested in re-opening it for live theatre events.
I worked as a projectionist at the Paris, and remember going behind the screen, where the original proscenium was still intact along with the footlights from the days of vaudeville. In the balcony, there were rest rooms, and a long abandomned concession counter that I’m told were from the days when African-American patrons were seated upstairs.
Although the theatre was not in the best condition when I worked there, it’s a shame that it was not restored, as there were many historical items left in the theatre, including gas jets for lighting in the balcony.
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