The Demolition of The Grand Theater in New Orleans East


On Tuesday morning, the Grand Theater was demolished.

Demolition of Grand Theatre

Posted by Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

For those times of commuting when the Causeway toll is too inconvenient, I’ll take the long way from Slidell, going around the lake, and through New Orleans East. From the driver’s seat point of view, it all appears so “in process” or “please excuse our progress.” Katrina harmed this city in more ways than one, and the East portion of town still looks to be going through all of it.

Left abandoned since the storm, The Grand Theater has been left to rot. A multiplex movie palace, The Grand of New Orleans East got cut off from the digitization of film projection when it shuddered its doors in 2005, never to experience new technology or even reopen. This past month, a fire destroyed the roof and some of the inside of the building, leading to Tuesday’s demolition of the structure.

The tearing down of The Grand comes just weeks after Cinebarre Canal Place announced its decision to close its business (though it will be used one last time for The Overlook Film Festival this weekend).

It’s a sad state of affairs when the destruction of a cinema doesn’t just depress us about the state of moviegoing but also reminds us of the state of our city. New Orleans East deserves better.


Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved.

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