New Orleans and classic movie theaters go way back. One of the very first movie theaters in the nation opened here, and during much of the 20th century, movie theaters were neighborhood gathering places in the way that neighborhood bars are now. Many of those historic theaters are long gone, but a few remain, and some have been restored and revitalized as new event venues, like this week’s GoNOLA Find, the Carver Theater.
Located in the Treme neighborhood, the Carver Theater originally opened in 1950. It opened with a screening of a John Wayne film and continued operating as a one-screen movie theater for the next 30 years, until it closed in 1980. The building was used as a health clinic prior to 2005, when it experienced extensive flooding during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The theater re-opened earlier this year after an $8 million restoration, just in time for Jazz Fest, boasting a full array of state-of-the-art amenities.
In its current state, the theater can accommodate up to 500 seated guests and more than 800 for standing events. These days it’s rented out for private events ranging from weddings to baby showers, and used for live events. It’s also used as a backdrop for the occasional Hollywood South film production: the Carver Theater made an appearance in the TNT show Memphis Beat.
The Carver Theater is located at 2101 Orleans Ave., just blocks away from iconic Treme restaurants Dooky Chase’s and Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Visit the Carver Theater’s website or their Facebook page for upcoming event listings.