For years, Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge proprietor Rene Broussard has wanted to do regularly scheduled children’s programming.

“But we were in a shared space with a coffee shop and hair salon,” said Broussard. “And we couldn’t do matinees before 5:30 p.m.” The theater was located on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard since 2000.

Broussard founded Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge in 1986 while a BFA student in drama and communications at the University of New Orleans. Originally called Zeitgeist Theatre Experiments, it was founded as an experimental theater troupe, later adding alternative cinema and other entertainment to its programming lineup.

Though happy with his location, Broussard was told a theater space on St. Claude Avenue, the Valiant Theatre & Lounge in Arabi, was available. Broussard was hooked. Owned by the Meraux Charitable Foundation, Zeitgeist will become part of the foundation’s plans for the Old Arabi Cultural Arts District, which also encompasses art studios and galleries.

The new space offers an opportunity to expand program, including offering alternative fare for children, Broussard said.

Broussard has had a consistent eye for interesting programming. His new international children’s film series, Movie Days, includes the multi-award nominated, “Mirai,” an animé film, and three parts of the New York International Children’s Film Festival Tour, including “Viva Kid Flicks,” a program of animated, documentary and live action films in Spanish, with English subtitles.

“There is a different film each week,” said Broussard, who's also looking forward to booking school groups.

Broussard will continue to show alternative film for adults, with March featuring “Smaller and Smaller Circles,” “Lords of Chaos” and “A Man and His Trumpet: The Leroy Jones Story,” about the New Orleans trumpet player.

Other events will be aimed at children and parents, such as Crescent City Aerialists performing fairy tales and nursery rhymes with video mapping on April 6 for children at noon. A less tame version for adults is at 9 p.m.

A soft opening Monday featured the Lundi Gras Old Arabi Walking Parade along the Mississippi River, ending up at the theater with music from cellist Helen Gillet. This also marked the start of her new residency there.

Another residency features Jonathan Freilich curating a creative music/jazz series called “Songs from Earth,” on Thursdays at 9 p.m.

The grand opening on Thursday will showcase two orchestras. Neslorchestra, which combines, jazz, blues, Frank Zappa, Big Band, rock, funk, Eastern European folk and circus music, is a project of New Orleans trombone player Rick Trolsen. The Naked Orchestra, directed by Freilich and conducted by Dr. Jimbo Walsh, is improvisational.

“It has been exhausting, expensive, yet exciting at the same time,” said Broussard. “I can’t wait to show off our new space. It is the epitome of swank and elegance, while seeming casual and inviting.”

Movie Days: All movies are rated G.

Opens March 8:

"MIRAI": When four-year-old Kun meets his new baby sister, his world is turned upside down. Named Mirai (meaning “future”), the baby quickly wins the hearts of Kun’s entire family. Kun becomes increasingly jealous of baby Mirai, until one day he encounters strange guests from the past and future — including his sister Mirai, as a teenager. From acclaimed Japanese animé director Mamoru Hosoda. Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at Golden Globe Awards; Best Animated Feature at 24th Critics' Choice Awards; and Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards. The film also won Best Animated Feature — Independent at the 46th Annie Awards.

Opens March 15:

"THE BIG BAD FOX & OTHER TALES": A hilarious, heartwarming tale of animal misfits from France. The countryside isn’t always as calm and peaceful as it’s made out to be, a delightful triptych about a fox who mothers a family of chicks, a rabbit who plays the stork, and a duck who wants to be Santa Claus. 

Opens March 22:

"MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER": This Japanese animated film is based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 classic children’s book, “The Little Broomstick, Mary and The Witch’s Flower,” is an action-packed film full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters, and the simple, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find a place in the world.

Featuring the voices of Ruby Barnhill and Academy Award®-winners Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent. 

Opens March 29:

NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL TOUR: "KID FLICKS ONE": Kick off this three-part series with good hygiene and great dubstep in “Party Mouth” (USA), then let your hair — or fur — down and hang loose in “I Want to Live in the Zoo” (Russia). And, then enjoy the charming “If You Fall” (Canada). Recommended ages 3 to 7, in English. 

Opens April 5:

NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL TOUR: "KID FLICKS TWO": Clever, thought-provoking films sure to inspire audiences age 8 and above to expand their horizons. In the Grand Prize award-winner "Game" (USA), AJ has the drive to excel but must push through obstacles to get there.

Meanwhile, teamwork takes on different stripes when an odd couple of bears are forced to work together in the hilarious stop-motion short "Poles Apart" (UK). Plus, the CG-animated wonder "Gokurōsama" (France) bridges cultures and generations by showing us that even in an automated age, a little human touch can still work wonders. English with some subtitles. 

Opens April 12:

NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL TOUR: "VIVA KID FLICKS": A Spanish-language program of animated, documentary, and live action films full of warmth, wit and the cultural richness of Mexico. Co-curated with Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival, all films are in Spanish with English subtitles or no dialogue, perfect for Spanish learners, speakers, and all seekers of fun, artistic and enriching cultural experiences, age 7 and above.

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Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge, 6621 St. Claude Ave.

Admission: $8 general admission / $7 students or seniors / $6 Zeitgeist members or children 16 and under.

For school or other group discounts please contact Rene Broussard at rene@zeitgeistnola.org

For more information: zeitgeistnola.org; (504) 352-1150 or rene@zeitgeistnola.org


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