Years ago, many small communities laid claim to a movie theatre. In most cases, these theatres, which went by names like Roxie, Bijou and Lyric, had a single screen. It was a far cry from the huge multiplexes we know today.
In the entire state of Louisiana, there remains only one single screen suburban theatre - the Prytania - and it happens to be located in New Orleans. It is also the oldest operating theatre in New Orleans and was opened in 1915, according to the website.
Having only one screen has its drawbacks. For instance, while the Prytania shows first run movies - popular movie The Help was playing at the time of this writing - it can only present one at a time. So, there has to be something more that draws in crowds.
That “something more” comes in several forms. For example, at noon every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, the theatre runs classic movies such as Funny Girl, Showboat, To Catch a Thief and A Place in the Sun.
In addition, the Prytania runs a week-long French Film Festival each year, as well as an annual “Filmorama.” For one week during May, a series of movies play from noon until approximately midnight or later. A different series runs each day, so chances are you won’t see the same film two days in succession. It’s too bad Filmorama isn’t run during August, as it would provide a comfortable respite from the hot, humid summer days.
Technologically speaking, don’t let the theatre’s history fool you. The Prytania recently underwent a thorough renovation with new seating, updated lobby, a larger screen and state of the art sound projection.
Perhaps the single factor that truly sets the Prytania apart from every other theatre in the city is its owner, Rene Brunet, a man widely recognized as a New Orleans Theatre Historian. When you attend the theatre, there is a good chance you will meet Rene. As the website says, he will be the gentleman in the lobby with the “Movie Tie” on!
If you’re looking for things to do in New Orleans this weekend, add the Prytania to your list. It’s a fun step back in time to when going to the movies was THE thing to do.