The place where I spent my formative cinema-going years is going away, likely thanks to bone-headed miscalculation on the part of the national management. I worked as a lowly ticket-taker, then a manager, and then a projectionist at the best movie house in New Orleans, the Canal Place.
Not only did I met some of my best friends there, but it’s where I saw many of my all-time favorite films, either in first run, at the New Orleans Film and Video Festival, or all by my lonesome at 3am after the customers had left.
I crawled around the floors, replacing tiny bulbs in aisle lights and repairing seats warped by too many fat tourist asses. I teetered on (no doubt) non-OSHA-approved decrepit wooden ladders to adjust ceiling tiles, screen curtains, and floodlights. All of the work was made quick by the awesome surround-sound system pumping out Tom Waits or Sidney Bechet, no doubt increasing my love for both.
For the people still in New Orleans, it might turn out to be for the best. Even when I was there Landmark was hesitant to invest in maintaining and upgrading the facility and I can’t imagine that it got a lot better post-Katrina.
Always kept running by string, duct-tape, and force-of-will, I hope patrons make a point of stopping by before it closes to offer the staff and managers a tip of the hat. Believe or not, they love movies even more than you do.
The French Quarter will get a newer, shinier place with more expensive treats, digital projectors [Boooo! 24 fps is film! hissss! — Ed.], and a newer crop of insolent, binge-drinking, under-paid cinephiles to make fun of the way you mis-pronounce the titles…but for this selfish, nostalgic, ex-New Orleanian: bah humbug.