Listen to the slow rattle of the streetcar, watching New Orleanians going along with their daily lives as you take a trip on the St. Charles streetcar heading towards Prytania Theatre. Walk a few blocks after hopping off on Jefferson, and you’ll end up at the effervescent theatre.
Prytania Theatre is the oldest functioning theater in New Orleans, and the only single-screen, urban theater left in all of Louisiana. It opened its doors back in 1915, relocated in 1927, and still stands today. This is a bit of a feat, considering most urban theaters in New Orleans have had to close their doors after commercialized suburban theaters with their large parking lots and easy access to dozens of films started opening in the area. The people in New Orleans, tourists and natives alike, seem to have chosen convenience over history.
Nevertheless, the Brunet family, the third generation owners of Prytania Thater, have kept the theater up and running. The Prytania Theater is considered to be a bit of a hidden gem. Like so many places in New Orleans, it looks like a building plucked straight out of the mid-1900s and placed randomly in the modern day, with its old-fashioned architecture surrounded by modern life and residential areas. It shows an interesting mix of movies, currently including well-loved oldie Beetlejuice, as well as much anticipated new films such as the second Fantastic Beasts movie.
It’s not uncommon for the average college student to overlook something as rich in history as the Prytania when searching for something to do on a Friday night. However, the aforementioned college student might be pleasantly surprised and glad they chose to attend a viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Fantastic Mr. Fox rather than the typical Tulanian weekend night events.
Prytania Theater also offers specific special events. Consider the affectionately named Kill-o-Rama, a series of spooky movie showings throughout October, including some Tim Burton favorites and Halloween classics. They also offer private events such as birthday parties and private screenings. And don’t miss their “Classic Movie of the Week,” a personal favorite special event of mine. In the past, it’s been movies such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as many other old Hollywood favorites.
No matter which way you look at it, you just simply can’t go wrong with the Prytania Theater. Not only are you supporting a private, family-owned business (something that particularly warms my heart), but the range of movies and productions shown is so vast that it can literally appeal to any film or performing arts lover.
COVER PHOTO: The Advocate