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Blakeview: The Drive-In


The movie was Golden Boy, starring Barbara Stanwyck. The date was May 28, 1940 — 75 years ago this week — and the venue was New Orleans' first drive-in movie theater, called simply The Drive-In. The theater opened with that big-screen feature playing that night at the corner of Robert E. Lee and Canal Boulevards in Lakeview. At the time there were just 34 drive-in theaters in America, according to Prytania Theatre owner and movie buff Rene Brunet Jr. and historian Jack Stewart, who chronicle local theater history in their book There's One in Your Neighborhood. "The screen was to be 30 by 40 feet and, in an attempt to solve the sound delay problem that drive-ins were dealing with nationally, 250 loudspeakers were installed throughout the field, serving 500 cars," they write. The Drive-In's time in Lakeview was short-lived, however. Neighbors complained about noise and the theater closed in June 1946. In 1948, the Jeff Drive-In opened on Jefferson Highway. Others followed, including the Airline and Crescent on Airline Highway, the Do Drive-In on Metairie Road, and the Skyvue on Chef Menteur Highway, as well as drive-ins in Kenner, Gretna, Marrero and St. Bernard Parish.

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