There have been several industries across the country that have suffered tremendously during COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns. From hospitality to live entertainment, and the medical community, hundreds of people are out of jobs, and businesses are being forced to close their doors.
Theaters have also taken a category five hit since lockdown. Already struggling due to the success of streaming services, the industry is facing a full-scale crisis. These problems have especially hit the New Orleans economy, where we thrive on live entertainment, tourism, and food & drinks.
And now one of New Orleans’ oldest theaters is having to close its doors for the summer to avoid closing for good. The Broad Theater took to social media today to share the news, but they did provide a twist; offering hope in a time when things seem bleak.
“Instead of a sorrowful letter about our closure, we are going to use those lessons from Katrina and remember the darkest hour is always just before daylight. We will reopen, we will build back a safe experience for our staff and customers. We will use this time to adjust our business model to continue to be a vital part of our neighborhood and this city.”
After the Canal Place movie theater closed in 2018, The Broad Theater and the Prytania Theatre are the only two remaining movie theaters in the greater New Orleans area. The Broad Theater gave no timeline in its announcement on a return, but with national chains not returning, and new movies being delayed, 2021 is looking like the safest bet. You can read The Broad Theater’s full post below.
“I originally drafted a long letter announcing our closure that echoed the sounds of so many other small business owners – lack of leadership from the top, regulations unfair to small businesses, etc – and while I do wholeheartedly agree with all the notes I have read, writing another one didn’t feel right. Our theater lives in a neighborhood that has long dealt with challenges from within and from the outside. The residents of Treme, Esplande, Mid City, 7th Ward, and New Orleans as a whole, are resilient people who have faced tragedy before and come out better as a result. While this tragedy is much different than Katrina, the darkness that overcame us is just as heavy. We must remember in the aftermath of Katrina, and the destruction all around, we felt that if we worked hard, had a little help from our neighbors and the government, we could overcome and get to the other side. With every day of work, we felt a little better. So instead of a sorrowful letter about our closure, we are going to use those lessons from Katrina and remember the darkest hour is always just before daylight. We will reopen, we will build back a safe experience for our staff and customers, and we will use this time to adjust our business model to continue to be a vital part of our neighborhood and this city. Our customers have always pulled us through the challenges of being at the deep end of Broad, and we have no doubt you all will be there for us when we return. God bless. – Brian Knighten, owner”