Paris Theatre

900 Elysian Fields Avenue,
New Orleans, LA 70117

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Elysium Theatre, Dreamland Theatre

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Paris Theatre

The Elysium Theatre opened in November 1903. It was one of several theatres built in New Orleans by Henry Greenwald.
It was re-named the Dreamland in 1922. The Dreamland became part of the United Theatre chain. At some time, there was a fire in the theatre, which caused structual damage to the balcony, which was re-inforced, but the balcony did not re-open.

It continued to operate as a neighborhood theatre, until 1965, when it was bought by Arthur Barnett, and re-named the Paris, featuring adult movies.
The theatre was purchased in the early-mid 70’s by George Echols company ITU, and continued showing adult product.
In 1980, Essex, one of the better adult film companies of the day, purchased the Paris and continued to operate it until 1987 when the theatre closed.

In 1989, there was a massive fire that destroyed this history filled theatre. Prior to the fire, I seem to remember reading that someone was interested in re-opening it for live theatre events.
I worked as a projectionist at the Paris, and remember going behind the screen, where the original proscenium was still intact along with the footlights from the days of vaudeville. In the balcony, there were rest rooms, and a long abandomned concession counter that I’m told were from the days when African-American patrons were seated upstairs.

Although the theatre was not in the best condition when I worked there, it’s a shame that it was not restored, as there were many historical items left in the theatre, including gas jets for lighting in the balcony.

Contributed by Michael Hurley

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

joysmovies on January 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Here’s some Paris Theatre photos:
The front of the theatre taken in about 1986:
View link
Posters in the lobby probably about 1982:
View link
And an ad probably from the late 70’s for the Paris & Cine' Royale:
View link

BigEasyBarry on August 10, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I can remember Mike getting me in here for free. I would sometimes help him clean up. From 2007 to 2009, I worked at the Adult Video store on Chef Highway. The back theater has some seat from the Paris.

ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Announcing a book about New Orleans Movie Theaters

The History of the Neighborhood Theaters in New Orleans
is being written by 89-year-old Rene Brunet, the dean of the motion picture industry in Louisiana, and New Orleans historian and preservationist Jack Stewart. The 160-page,coffee table book will be released in November and is being published by Arthur Hardy Enterprises, Inc. Attention will be focused on 50 major neighborhood and downtown theaters, culled from a list of nearly 250 that have dotted the cityâ€\s landscape since the first “nickelodeon” opened in 1896 at 626 Canal Street. The book will be divided by neighborhoods and will open with a map and a narrative about each area. Each major theater will feature “then and now” photographs, historic information, and a short series of quotes from famous New Orleanians and from regular citizens who will share their recollections.
We are trying to acquire memorabilia and additional photos of this theater for this publication. (deadline July 1.) You will be credited in the book and receive a free autographed copy if we publish the picture that you supply. Please contact Arthur Hardy at or call 504-913-1563 if you can help.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

JoeLeydon on May 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Must admit: I was a little shocked to see the Dreamland converted to the Paris as early as 1965. I remember going to the Dreamland quite often while growing up in the Ninth Ward. As I recall, it was a third-run house at the time, so I often caught up with movies there (or saw them a second time) after they had played at the Nola, or the Famous (just down the street). They booked double bills — and sometimes the second features were REALLY old. I vaguely recall seeing a Bowery Boys movie there as late as the early ‘60s.

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