Rex Theatre

141 E. Landry Street,
Opelousas, LA 70570

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Affiliated Theatres, Saenger Amusement Company, Southern Amusements

Architects: John Milton Gabriel

Previous Names: Princess Theatre, Nailey Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Rex Theatre

The Princess Theatre was opened in 1916. In 1932 it was renamed Bailey Theatre. The Rex Theatre was opened in 1936. It could accommodate 525 patrons. It was initially operated by Affiliated Theatres followed by Saenger Amusements then Southern Amusements. The Rex Theatre was still open in 1957, but has since closed and has been demolished for a parking lot.

Contributed by Stephen

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 3, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Lake Charles architect John M. Gabriel drew the plans for alterations to the Rex Theatre in Opelousas in 1951. The house was then being operated by the Southern Amusement Company.

DavidZornig on January 31, 2021 at 9:23 am

I believe this was Landry Street not Landy Street.
There was also a Rex Theatre in Raceland LA that I am trying to research.

robboehm on February 1, 2021 at 8:11 am

According to comments on a Facebook site about the nearby Rose, the only theatres left in town at the conclusion of 1957 were the Delta, Lou Ana and Yam Drive-In.

I have uploaded a photo of a page from the Opelousas Daily World of August 31, 1950 with ads for the Rex and other operating theatres.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2021 at 3:54 pm

This article from the Opelousas Daily World of September 19, 2019 has a history of movie theaters in Opelousas, and it says that a house called the Bon Ami Theatre had opened by 1911, with its entrance on Court Street. Some time later (before 1914) it was expanded into a building on Landry Street and renamed the Princess Theatre. It operated for a time with entrances on both streets.

In 1916, a new owner took over and built a new, brick building for the Princess at another location on Landry Street, and it was this 1916 building that eventually became the Rex. The Princess apparently started out as a reverse theater, as the article says that in 1923 it was remodeled and expanded, and the screen was moved to the rear of the building. In 1932, a fire caused about $8,000 of damage to the building, and it had to be partly rebuilt. By 1937 it had been renamed the Rex. In its later years the Rex was operated by the same company that owned the Delta Theatre.

The article doesn’t give the closing year for the Rex, but notes that the Rose Theatre opened on Market Street in 1947 and the Lou Ana Theatre opened on North Court Street in 1951, so it’s likely that the Rex closed not long after that, despite the 1951 remodeling project. With three other theaters in town, plus the drive-in, I doubt the Rex was ever outfitted with costly CinemaScope equipment, and most non-CinemaScope houses everywhere had been closed by the end of 1956.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2021 at 4:32 pm

Oops. Something from the article I left out of my comment is that in 1932 the Princess was sold to R. Bailey, who renamed it the Bailey Theatre. A Harold Bailey of Opelousas is mentioned as a recent visitor to film row in New Orleans in the January 7, 1936 issue of The Film Daily.

Something the Daily World article missed is another fire at the Princess, on February 4, 1926. The reopening of the house was mentioned in the March 13, 1926 issue of Moving Picture World.

robboehm on February 6, 2021 at 11:59 am

Joe, I found a brief article, dated May, 26, 1923, in the Clarion-News stating that the renovation of the Princess which would add 100 seats, relocate the screen from the rear of the auditorium and change the front of the building would be accomplished without interrupting daily matinee and evening performances. Wow!!

robboehm on February 9, 2021 at 8:47 am

Uploaded a photo of the Princess renovation that I referred to in my February 6th posting.

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