Nola Theatre

4000 St. Claude Avenue,
New Orleans, LA 70117

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: United Theatres

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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NOLA Theatre Colapses Sunday night October 1961

The Nola Theatre opened in 1941. Seating was listed at 500. The theatre was located on Saint Claude Avenue at Bartholomew Street. The theatre was operated by United Theatres.

The Nola Theatre closed in 1965 and has since been demolished. There is a vacant lot where the theatre once stood. Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 12:42 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.

rivest266 on August 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

This opened on September 24th, 1941. The grand opening ad is in this theatre’s photo page.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on September 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Just came across this horrible and sad article from an old Boxoffice magazine dated Oct. 30, 1961:

The ceiling of the Nola Theatre caved in on Sunday evening around 6:30 PM. Approximately 65 to 70 patrons were trapped under a network of wire lathing and plaster. A 65-year-old woman usher was killed. Several others were seriously injured and others suffered from bruises and shock.

“Homicidal” was the movie playing that evening.

Plaster began falling from the rear of the auditorium and blanketed all but the last four rows. Pandemonium raged for several hours both inside the theatre and outside as police, firemen, as well as Army and Navy volunteers worked feverishly to pull patrons, many of them hysterical, from the rubble. The street outside was filled with cries and shouts of spectators many of whom were parents of children trapped inside. They pushed against police lines in a frantic effort to enter the theatre and find their children. The audience consisted mostly of youngsters when the ceiling fell. Ambulance sirens filled the air for several hours as the injured were taken to hospitals.

There was no explosion or fire and no construction was in the area at the time of the cave-in. One younster told police that he heard a rumbling like a drum beating overhead, and looking up he saw dust and plaster falling. He quickly ducked under the seat pulling his sister down with him. Other boys on their way to the concession stand heard a cracking noise and saw plaster coming down in one big sheet.

What a horrible tragedy. I’m suprised the Nola Theatre reopened after this. Even after repairs were made I seriously doubt I could ever see another movie there just knowing what happened.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Wow, what a story guess CHuck who wrote the intro never heard about or surely he would have included it.Nick, was that an old Boxoffice Magazine I gave you? or was it Charlie’s.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on April 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Mike, I found the story by looking through old issues of Boxoffice Magazine online at:

Nearly all issues are available from around 1925 to the present. Once you’re on just click on the desired year and month. You can browse entire issues page-by-page. Warning: the site is very addictive so be prepared to spend a few hours browsing!

mugsy on May 17, 2016 at 9:15 am

I was outside the “NOLA” when the roof fell in. A elderly llady who “us kids” referred to as the “Pop Corn Lady” was killed as she was hurring down the center aisle yelling for the patrons to get under their seats. I was late for the move, but three of my friends were near the front of the theater. Two jumped on the stage in the very front of the screen and the third hid under his seat. Although my friends were not injured seriously, the two on the stage were slightly bruised with minor scratches and my third friend under the seat had a slight bump on his head. All three were covered with sheetrock dust. It was an extremely frietening experience even from the outside. The police made me leave before I could see my friends, but I saw them latter that nite and got the whole story. Most of the movie goers went to St. Claude Hospital which was located across the street and only a few blocks away. I think that each of my friends received $700 within a few days as a quick settlement. I am not exactly sure of the settlement amount ??

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