Joy Theater

1200 Canal Street,
New Orleans, LA 70112

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Showing 1 - 25 of 88 comments

fredw on September 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

I was raised by one of Joy’s younger brothers Freddie. I spent a lot of my younger years in the Joy Theater and Joy Drive-In in Shreveport. I also lived in the apartment above the Joy in New Orleans during my second grade. I spent a lot of time on their farm in Arkansas. The foundation I received from being around the theaters and farm were an incredible basses for the rest of my life and I owe much of my success in life to Freddie and Joy.

RandyHouck on March 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Joy Houck was my uncle, the older brother of my dad. I now own the house that Joy grew up in, in Magnolia, Arkansas. I was actually closer to Joy than I was to my own father. He was an astonishing man.

Willisolas on October 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm

My grand dad was a first cousin to Joy. My dad worked for Joy for many years. His nephew had dinner with us a few weeks ago. The house Joy grew up in is still in good shape.

Johnny23 on September 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

that marquee lit up at night is truly a sight to behold… just gorgeous. unfortunately, the joy is no longer a movie theater, so my interest ends at the beauty of the marquee. in it’s last few years as a movie theater, the joy was a mess… terrible conditions, loud, obnoxious and possibly dangerous patrons, etc. but i have a lot of fondness for that sort of grindhouse atmosphere, so i sort of miss those days.

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on September 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

According to The September 2012 issue of Signs of the Times, “the Joy Theatre sign in New Orleans, originally built by Pelican Signs in 1947, was recently restored by the Big Eay’s Brightway Signs.”

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Astonishing. After sitting for quite a while and then getting hit by Katrina I thought this place was a goner. Good things do happen.

CSWalczak on February 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

A USA Today article about the theater: View link

Driveintheatre2001 on January 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm

This Theatre looks outstanding!! Such a turn-around from when I took this photo back in March of 2010…

Randy A Carlisle — Historical Photographer

waynebeau23 on January 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

The Joy reopened with live music performances on Dec. 29, 2011. From the outside it looks great. I understand they can still show film.

Bway on December 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

WOnderful! I never thought I would see THAT again!

CSWalczak on December 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Article, with pictures, about the reopening:

Bway on November 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Sounds wonderful! So happy the Joy has a happy ending…or actually, a great new beginning!

Sandie on November 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

Yes, it’s true. The Joy Theater is going to open on December 29, 2011. It is locally owned and operated. The new owners have completely renovated the venue and made it a multipurpose entertainment venue. They retained the balcony and have added a bar, an elevator and permanent seats. They added a stage, a state of the art sound and video system. The floors on the first floor will be removable so you can add a dance floor or have a reception.

Opening night: Irma Thomas (12/29), Soul Rebels (12/30), and Kermit Ruffins (12/31). Tickets are going on sale 12/1. We are active on Facebook/thejoytheater. And the website will be up next week.

Most importantly, the marquee is being restored and returned to Canal Street during the second week of December!

rivest266 on August 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

I uploaded this theatre’s grand opening ad in the photo section.

Bway on July 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

That is great news!

Bill Arceneaux
Bill Arceneaux on July 15, 2011 at 9:55 pm – The Joy is finally getting renovated. To be reopened as a multi-entertainment venue next year.

joysmovies on March 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Joy Newton Houck was Joy Sr’s name. Joy Houck Jr., known around the theatre biz as “J.N.”, and Clyde Joy Houck are sons of Joy Houck Sr.

JimLott on February 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Nice article. If for sale, I wonder if the owners would be interested in a 1031?

JimLott on February 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I noticed I’m the only poster referring to Joy Houck as Clyde Joy.. I could’ve sworn that’s what I was toldhis name was. Sorry if my facts aren’t correct but my recollection is from circa 1985-6.

JimLott on February 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I never met Clyde Joy Houck but heard wonderful stories of the Grandfather who piloted his own plane on trips into his 90’s. Cheryl told me how Clyde Joy pioneered traveling to small towns and rural areas throughout Texas and pitching a tent in a field for country folks to watch cinema that they might not otherwise be able to see. Reminds me of the “Grapes of Wrath”.. With a twinkle in her eyes, Cheryl recalled childhood memories of spending time in the theater watching movies and eating all the concessions she wanted. I got the impression that Clyde Joy knew how to make his granddaughter feel special and that no granddaughter was ever more proud of her grandpa.

After many years I have come to appreciated those stories and who Clyde Joy Houck was and how special the Houck family is.

It’s sort of a fluke that I came to this site and I have never read anything about the Houck Family until today. All I ever knew was what little bit Cheryl told me (25 years ago). Obviously she made an impression on me.. But after having a Houck family heirloom (a dining room table and chairs) that Cheryl sold me in the 80’s (with Grandma’s blessing). I can only imagine the feasts and the stories that where once told at that table. To me it just always had some sort of magical aura about it.. (sounds funny I know) But of all the “stuff” I have, it remains one of my favorite pieces., last week I decided to have it professionally refinished. And on a whim, today I thought I would Google “Houck Cinema Texas” and VAVOOM!

Cheryl, hope all is well with you and your family. If you’re ever in Denver, call me!

Jim (in Denver)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 6, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I had two close friends that grew up in New Orleans and all they talked about when we went to the movies in Downtown Augusta,how great the JOY was.I knew this theatre back in the early 70’s! But can it can it be that great.

TLSLOEWS on August 5, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Interesting History.

237040 on August 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The post by Cheryl and Randy Houck brought back memories of my childhood. Uncle Joy vistited my grandfather, Enouck Newton Houck, often. I’ve never know for sure how they were related. Were they brothers or cousins? Their physical appearance was stricking. They appeared to be twins. I only saw Uncle Joy once during my adult life and when he entered the room I thought it was my grandfather. I’m trying to find more about my family history and would like to hear from family who would know their relationship and most important to me, what was my grandfathers fathers name?

ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 2:37 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.