Lakeside Cinemas

3301 Veterans Memorial Boulevard,
Metairie, LA 70002

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Contributed by dave-bronx

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

MrGC on July 27, 2006 at 5:20 pm

The Lakeside Cinemas were first built as a “Twin” cinema. This comprised Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. The design used is sometimes referred to as a “butterfly” because of the auditoriums being on the opposite sides of the building.

Cinema 1 had a seating capacity of around 1200. Cinema 2 had a seating capacity of over 600. When the larger of the two auditoriums was “twined” they then became Cinema 2 and 3. The old Cinema 2 then became Cinema 1.

Due to delays in the construction the local competition, also under construction, opened ahead of General Cinemas Lakeside Cinema. The local competition was the Cobb family. They opened their theatre across Veterans Blvd and called it the Lakeside Theatre.

Several years after the opening another “Twin” theatre was built and opened next to the original Lakeside Cinema. This newer theatre became known as Lakeside Cinema 4 & 5. This newer cinema had auditoriums that could seat approximately 500 each.

At two times during the operation these theatres were operated by the same overall manager. The longest one person managed both was by Bill Day. He was the manager of both Lakeside 1-3 and the city manager for General Cinema for five years. He managed both the Lakeside Cinema 1-3 and Lakeside Cinema 4-5 for a period exceeding two years. The only position that was common between the two during this time was the Manager. The two did operate independently for the remanding time of operation. Behind these two theatres was a “Winn Dixie” grocery store.

These two theatres were the premier theatres in the Metairie area for many years. There were many premiers held there. During these premiers many top name entertainers visited and took part. Around 1988 Lakeside Cinema 1-3 underwent an extensive remodeling which added new life to the aging theatre.

The Lakeside Cinemas started their decline around 1989 or 1990. General Cinema, the parent company, itself started a downward spiral a few years later. This came about after a realignment of the management structure of the company. Many poor business decisions were made and the company, several years later, in the early 2000s was under bankruptcy.

This once second most powerful theatre company in the USA began closing selling off and closing more and more of it’s’ theatres in the early 1990s. Two of these theatres were two Lakeside Cinemas. These closings and sell offs were done until once rival AMC purchased what was left of this company. Ironically many years earlier AMC was being looked at by General Cinema as possible purchasing to expand GCC.

jaybee7414 on April 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

Wasn’t the development of the “Super Theaters” such as nearby Clearview Palace at the Clearview Mall what really sealed the fate of Lakeside and other obsolete theaters? Most every theater not the size of a small city has succumbed to these giants. One of the few still around in the Jefferson Parish area is Hollywood 9 (formerly Esplanade Theater or Cinema) in Kenner and given how small the crowds have been it’s a wonder that it’s still open.

jaybee7414 on April 1, 2008 at 9:31 am

“GCC operated the theatres until the mid/late 90’s, and they sat empty for several years. I saw a wrecking ball doing the last of the dirty work on Cinema 4 & 5 during a visit around 2002.
posted by DonS on Feb 11, 2005 at 8:21pm”

I left the area in January of 1999 (returned a year ago-March 2007) and the theater was still active, so I’m not sure when it “sat empty” but I heard that it was operating into the 2000’s. I realized our posts are just over 3 YEARS apart.

indymovieguy on May 4, 2009 at 8:48 pm

The 2 Lakeside locations were open at least through 1999, and I believe until mid 2000. Esplanade was open until the GC bankruptcy in October 2000. Esplanade was one of the few dozen theatres that helped bring about the bankruptcy of General Cinema. Despite having very good presentation, one of the only THX auditoriums in Louisiana, and being a popular location during the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s, due to it’s obscenely high lease costs, it never made a profit in it’s entire existence.

telliott on August 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

When I was in Metairie in 1999 there were several theatres still open in the Metairie/Kenner area. The Lakeside 5 was still operating as was the AMC Galleria 8, The Eslplanade 9 (now open as the Hollywood 9), the UA Pavillion 8 and Cinema City 8. I believe the only theatres now operating in the area are the AMC Clearview Palace 12 and the Hollywood 9.

Coate on August 13, 2009 at 10:23 am

“Star Wars” during its original 1977 release played a 26-week engagement at this theater.

canyontide on September 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

Man, the memories I have from the old Lakeside Cinema..spent a lot of time there back in the 70’s! Also, the lakeside theater across the street on Vets..the Joys Panarama 6 on Airline, an the Joys 8 on Vets in Kenner….boy, do I miss those day! Who remembers the old drive in on Vets??

canyontide on September 27, 2010 at 10:56 am

Ok, I made a wasn’t the Joys was the Cinema City 6 :)

jaybee7414 on July 20, 2011 at 4:39 am

I started going there a lot in the early-mid 80’s. I lived in Gretna, but like partying in Fat City, so I’d get loaded before the 7 or 7:30 movie and afterwards just walk across the street and start a tour of the Fat City bars. I first went to the theater in August of 1982 to watch Rocky 3.

In ‘82 I was 26.

jaybee7414 on November 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

Amazing that there is no picture of this theater.

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