Summer brings memories of a favorite way to spend a night in New Orleans during the 1950s and ’60s: seeing a movie at a drive-in theater.
This week marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a pivotal event in World War II history that has important ties to New Orleans.
According to the book “There’s One In Your Neighborhood: The Lost Movie Theaters of New Orleans,” the city’s first drive-in movie theater was in Lakeview, at the corner of Robert E. Lee and Canal boulevards. Authors Rene Brunet Jr. and Jack Stewart write that the theater opened in 1940 and was called simply the “Drive-In.” The only other Orleans Parish drive-in was the Skyvue, located at Downman and Gentilly Roads, which operated from 1951 to 1979.
The growing Jefferson Parish suburbs were home to more drive-in theaters, including the Jeff Drive-In, which opened in 1948 at 4000 Jefferson Highway. Airline Highway was home to the Airline Drive-In, with room for 900 cars, and the Crescent, which opened in 1950. The Do Drive-In opened in 1953 at 805 Metairie Road, with space for 1,200 cars. It closed in 1980, and the space now is the DeLimon Place condominium complex and the Old Metairie Village shopping center. The Westgate Drive-In was the largest in the metro area. Located in Metairie near Veterans Memorial Boulevard and David Drive, it opened in 1965 and closed in 1978.
In May 1969, the family which had made a name for itself at Brennan’s on Royal Street announced its purchase of Commander’s Palace. Emile Commander founded the Garden District restaurant in 1893.
West Bankers could enjoy the Algiers Drive-In on Gen. Meyer Avenue, the Gretna Greens Drive-In at 21st and Lafayette streets and the Marrero Drive-In on Fourth Street.
The drive-in with the shortest life span was the Kenner Drive-In on Airline Highway. It opened in March 1955 and was destroyed by Hurricane Flossy 18 months later.
Do you remember riding the Zephyr at Pontchartrain Beach? The wooden roller coaster opened for the first time 80 years ago this week. It was d…