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Arts & Culture

GoNOLA Find: Treme’s Historic Carver Theater

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.

The historic Carver Theater re-opened earlier this year after extensive renovations. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans.
The historic Carver Theater re-opened earlier this year after extensive renovations. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans.

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.

Mallory Whitfield is an artist, speaker, and author based in New Orleans. In 2016, she was honored to be included in the 19th class of Gambit’s 40 Under 40, which salutes the brightest innovators, artists, and professionals in New Orleans. She currently hosts the Badass Creatives podcast, which features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs. During Mardi Gras, you can usually find her parading with Noisician Coalition in Muses or with The 501st Legion in Tucks.

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