Gentilly Theatre

3869 Gentilly Road,
New Orleans, LA 70122

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Gentilly Art, Gentilly Orleans

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Gentilly Theatre

The Gentilly Theatre originally opened in 1931. It had seating for 410. The theater was renamed the Gentilly Art during the 1960’s, and later again renamed the Gentilly Orleans. It was destroyed in a fire in 1978. Any additional information on this theater would be appreciated.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

joysmovies on January 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Here’s an ad from 1963 when this theatre was called the Gentilly Art:
View link

atpaine on June 20, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I went to the Gentilly when it was the Gentilly Orleans in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember seeing “The Hot Rock” there with Robert Redford. What stood out to me as a teenager was that it had a restaurant attached where folks could by beer and then come in and watch a movie. They also would show previews not approved by the MPAA.

Happy memories from those days,


joysmovies on September 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I worked at this theatre beginning in 1974, when it was known as the Gentilly Orleans. The Groove Tube was showing at the time.
The Gentilly Orleans was a cozy little art house, showing some of the better and more offbeat art fare of the day. The auditorium was filled with high back blue rocking chair seats, and had a nice size screen.
There was a long closed balcony, where there were still a few rows of wooden seats covered with many years of dust.
Attached to the theatre was a restaurant, known for years as the Skillet, sort of a local greasy spoon. While I was working there, the restaurant was remodeled and the name changed to the Distillery, featuring a wide assortment of foreign beers, and really great bar-b-que. The theatre and restaurant shared the same rest rooms, and were attached by a very narrow hallway. Theatre patrons were permitted to go to the restaurant and purchase beer, and bring it back into the theatre.
The lobby had comfy couches and really had a living room feel to it. The lobby and concession were small, as you will see in photo links below. The theatre also offered complementary coffee to patrons.
The owner and manager of the theatre was Joe Bethea. This was, of course, toward the end of the era of the mom & pop theatre, where you were greeted by the owner of the theatre personally as you entered. Only one theatre still offers that personal touch in New Orleans today, The Prytania.
I remember Mr. Bethea telling me that in 1966, the theatre showed only 2 movies, A Man and A Woman for 7 months, and Georgie Girl for 6 months.
Some of the movies that played at the Gentilly while I was there were Fellini’s Amarcord, The Night Porter, Flesh Gordon, a double bill of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz & The Twelve Chairs, Inserts starring Richard Dreyfuss, and Louis Malle’s Lacombe Lucien.
A packed house was a sure bet for the weekly midnight shows on Friday & Saturday. We showed many rock classics at midnight, such as the first Pink Floyd movie, a revival of The Beatles in HELP, and Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come.
Some of the more offbeat midnight movies I remember were Pink Flamingos, Andy Warhol’s Women in Revolt, The Erotic Adventures of Zorro, and a local made 16MM comedy entitled OK-RAH: The Okrah that Ate New Orleans!
The Gentilly had the New Orleans premiere of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which showed every weekend at midnight from late 1976 until the theatre burned in 1978.
Some time after the fire, the building was purchased by a local developer, and was remodeled into several different businesses.
I have many happy memories of working at this theatre, and have thoroughly enjoyed this walk down memory lane.
Here’s a color pic of the front of the theatre from about 1975:
View link
Here’s a pic of the front of the theatre from a Figaro newspaper. The Skillet is on the far side of the theatre.
View link
Here’s a pic of the concession stand:
View link
And a pic of the lobby:
View link
This is a pic of the building in 2005 flooded by hurricane Katrina:
View link

RickKuneDo on September 10, 2009 at 1:00 am

I was part of the regular people at this theatre in the late 70’s. This group comsisted of myself- Rick G, Angela G, Godfrey, Danny O, to name a few. ()

SmithJohn on March 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

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TLSLOEWS on June 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Great photos drive-in mike.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Drive-in Mike,i see you played the GROOVE TUBE.We picked it up second run at the theatre i worked,National Hills a family theatre for the most part.Our City Manager saw the first few minutes and stood by the BOx office checking I.D. I did laugh myself silly. AT both the movie and Mr.Tinney.

ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Announcing a book about New Orleans Movie Theaters

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.
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.

milneburg on August 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm

joysmovies … Do you happen to have any more information about “Ok-rah: The Okrah that Ate New Orleans”? I teach at Xavier University and have a future idea for a performance project that plays with this film. Thanks for any leads!

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