Wisner Theatre

9544 Natchez Street,
Wisner, LA 71378

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Luzianne Theatre

Nearby Theaters

The small town of Wisner, Louisiana was serviced by two movie theatres in its downtown business district. This entry will handle both. The first opened as the Luzianne Theatre in the silent era during the 1920’s. In 1927, the theatre was taken over by George Elam who renamed it the Wisner Theatre. It appears to have ceased operations in 1931. Its original location stands only with four walls and no roof or interior elements remaining as of the 2020’s.

W.A. Tucker decided to create a new Streamline Moderne style theatre in the existing T.B. Gilbert Building that had belonged to the late former plantation owner and state senator. The New Wisner Theatre launched on March 31, 1934 with Rex Bell in “The Fighting Texan” supported by a comedy short.

Tucker, on a 25-year lease, vowed to reach not only Wisner’s population of fewer than 700 residents but a wide swath of Catahoula Parish including nearby Gilbert, Jigger, Elam, Holly Grove, Peck and, additionally - due to bridge work in Harrisonburg - both Leland and Harrisonburg. Tucker must have been right as he made it to 25 years of operation before moving on. And not before adding widescreen projection beginning in March of 1955 to present titles in CinemaScope, the first of which appears to have been, “How to Marry a Millionaire” on March 17th.

Edna Bondurant took on the venue in 1959. Though the town had grown north of 1,000 residents, the impact of television on small town movie attendance was dramatic. Bondurant dropped to just two changes of shows per week and then simply cut back to five day a week single show operation. In 1962, Thurmond Rials became who is believed to be the final operator of the venue. The Wisner Theatre likely went out of business in 1964 (though may have continued without advertising longer than that).

The town’s population has since eroded to few than 800 residents making a return to theatrical exhibition nearly impossible. The T.B. Gilbert Building was still standing as of the 2020’s although vacant.

Contributed by Dallasmovietheaters
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