Drive-in theaters were popular during the 1930s until the 1960s but most of the theaters had to close down as multiplexes and home movie rentals took its place as the medium of choice for movies. Open-air movies allow moviegoers to enjoy the film at the comfort and privacy of their cars. They bring their own food or walk towards the concession stand.
The New Orleans Recreation Development Commission will try to recreate the communal experience of the past by offering free Movies in the Park that will go on every Friday and Saturday until November 16. The screenings are coordinated and promoted by local organizations to nurture neighborhood friendships.
The sponsors can choose the movies from NORDC’s collection of animated, action, adventure, classic, dance, comedy, and inspirational films. Some of the movies from the collection include Spider-Man, The Blind Side, and The Wizard of Oz.
The movies will be projected onto a 30 by 60 foot screen in playgrounds across New Orleans. Residents are welcome to bring their own chairs or blankets as well as food and drinks. Children under the age of 16 should be accompanied with adults. Pets and alcoholic beverages are not allowed during the screenings.
Digby Park in eastern New Orleans has scheduled two movie screenings this season. It is one of the first locations in the program last year. During that time, the Pine Village, Rosedale, and Melia neighborhood associations managed to attract around 250 neighborhood residents.
According to park supervisor Kerry Williams, neighbors brought lawn chairs and blankets. There was a concession stand that offered popcorn, hotdogs, and nachos. He added that when the movie ended, the audience gave a round of applause.
Last weekend, Hoffman Triangle Neighborhood Association, together with the Taylor Park Booster Club, held a screening of How To Train Your Dragon at Taylor Park. The event also featured arts and crafts for the kids, face-painting, and information on affordable housing for adults. Proceeds from the concession sales will fund kids’ sports via the booster club.