The Joy Theater was once one of four original movie theaters to grace downtown New Orleans alongside the Orpheum (1921), State Palace Theater (1926) and the Saenger Theatre (1927). The Joy Theater opened its doors on Feb. 7, 1947 and was viewed as a “modern” movie house with its iconic neon marquee and art deco architecture. Opening night’s feature film was “Lover Come Back” starring Lucille Ball and George Brent while one of the longest running films was the 1975 film “Jaws” which ran for more than 20 weeks.
In 2003, due to growing movie theater competition, which offered stadium seating and multiple screens, the marquee light that glowed over Canal Street was turned off and the doors to the Joy Theater were closed. In 2011, visionaries Allan McDonnel, Joe Yaeger and Todd Trosclair saw the potential of resurrecting this historical landmark and rebuilding the Joy Theater as a state of the art venue for live music, theatrical performances, special events and event space. Barry Mendelson, who has a long history with the City of New Orleans, came on board as President of Joy Productions in 2013 and is using his vast experience in venues to bring first class entertainment to the Joy Theater.