[StBernard] Chalmette movie theater to get on with the show in mid-June

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Apr 14 19:20:15 EDT 2010

Chalmette movie theater to get on with the show in mid-June
By Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune
April 14, 2010, 12:14PM

Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina washed away St. Bernard Parish's
only movie theater, the show will finally go on again in Chalmette.

South Louisiana Entertainment Group -- the same locally owned outfit that
ran the Chalmette Cinema before the building was destroyed by 17 feet of
water in the 2005 storm -- signed a lease this afternoon (Wednesday, April
14) to operate anew theater going up in the old one's place on West Judge
Perez Drive.

The new theater will feature stadium seating in all six of its auditoriums,
with one of them boasting a 3-D-compatiable digital projector, according to
company spokesman Wendeslaus Schulz.

TP archiveLetters fro the Chalmette Movies 9 marquee, as seen in 2004.Seats,
screens and projection equipment still must be installed in the building,
which was stripped down to the structural steel and which has been under
construction for several weeks in The Mall shopping center. If everything
goes according to plan, however, the new Chalmette Cinema is expected to
open by June 18, in time for the release of Disney's 3-D "Toy Story 3."

"The projection booth is being built as we speak," Schulz said. "We need to
put in the concession stand, the game room and the seats."

Developer and property owner Ray Peacock said that his redevelopment plans
for The Mall -- which already includes an International House of Pancakes, a
Big Lots discount store and a number of other retailers -- didn't initially
include a movie theater. Then he realized there was a sore need for
entertainment options for families in post-Katrina St. Bernard Parish.

"The people were so adamant about putting something in for the children,"
Peacock said Wednesday morning. "I think this will be very good for the

Schulz -- a longtime local theater operator whose career has seen him
involved with the Plaza 4, Movie Pitchers and the old Gentilly Orleans,
among other local moviehouses -- said the new theater will mostly focus on
mainstream movies, with an emphasis on family-friendly fare. Because it will
have three fewer screens than the old facility, fewer arthouse-type films
will play, but Schulz said he and his South Louisiana Entertainment Group
partners hope to bring them in as business, and demand, permit.

He stressed that the theater -- which was privately financed and which will
include two auditoriums with 140 seats, two with 110 seats and two with 85
seats -- is an all-new facility. "It's not like a reopening. It's a
completely new building," he said. "The building was pretty much destroyed
by the hurricane."

At least one popular feature is expected to be carried over from the old
operation, however: "Dollar candy," Schulz said. "That was really popular.
People liked that. We'll still have dollar candy."

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