Dixie Center for the Arts
206 N. Vienna Street,
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Functions: Performing Arts
Previous Names: New Astor Theater, Rialto Theater, Dixie Theater
The New Astor Theater was built in 1928 as a vaudeville/movie theater. Later renmed Rialto Theater, followed by Dixie theatre. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
Now known as the Dixie Center for the Arts. Some of the uses for this theater are, theater performances, symphony performances, artistic demonstrations and various dance and musical classes. There will also be space available for artists to have classes and lectures.
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The Dixie opened as the New Astor Theatre. It had a 2 manual/4 rank Wicks theatre pipe organ.
(Ruston Daily Herald, April 13, 1943)
Theatre Managers Doing All Possible To Get Rid Of Rats
Call For Cooperation From Owners Of Other Business Places
Ruston theatre managers said today they were doing everything possible to rid their shows of rats and hoped within a very short time to have them eliminated from the premises as nearly as possible. C. J. Hubley said he had fought rats every day since he had been in Ruston but he could not rid the town of them by himself and called upon the city for more cooperation.
Mr. Hubley further said the Dixie Theatre Company had spent well over one thousand dollars during the past year for poison, traps and remodeling to prevent them from entering the building. He now catches from one to fifteen each day and has done everything from filling the House with cats to shooting them, but he can’t keep them out as long as other stores in the city do nothing to stop them from breeding and living on the premises.
An interesting thing about rats in the theatre is that none are ever caught before show time, but after the theatre is closed at the last show. They seem to come in or roam about only when people are inside eating and dropping particles of food on the floor.
Professional rat exterminators have rat-proofed the building and he said he would offer a reward to anyone finding where they can enter the theatre.
Both the Dixie and Varsity Theatres are being given a thorough cleaning and extermination campaign to rid the building of all vermin and Mr. Hubley has asked all owners and tenants of buildings near the theatres to cooperate in an effort to kill or drive them from the city.
Mr. Butterfield, of Tech Theatre, says he has not found any sign of rats in his theatre and has asked for another inspection from WAAC officers. However, he constantly has poison and traps scattered about his theatre to make certain none will enter or stay in the building.
He plans to keep a few cats as a further precaution, he said.
A great photo of the Dixie Theatre in Ruston.
Growing up in Ruston I often attended the Dixie. When we lived in the country the entire family would drive in on Friday or Saturday night for the double-features. Until the state banned them, the Dixie had WAHOO (a type of BINGO) on Friday nights. After we moved to town I usually went by myself. They used to start showing at 3:15 on weekdays and went until about 11. On Saturday the regular program stopped about 9:30, the “midnight” show starting about 10:00, showing the movie which would air on Sunday afternoon. They had to finish before midnight because of the many Tech students who attended and who had curfews in those days, especially the women. I remember seeing Huntz Hall (of the Bowery Boys) live, as well as Tex Ritter. They both put on good shows, but Hall disappeared after his, while Tex came into the lobby to greet his fans and sign autographs. Sundays the blue laws meant they could not start before 1, and had to be finished before 6, so the showing would not conflict with the church hours. One of the great things about the theaters in those days was one could go in when they opened and stay as long as one liked, or until they closed. The Dixie had a fine balcony, favored by the Tech students. The balcony had a dividing wall, with the Black patrons restricted to the rear area of the balcony.