Throwback Thursday: Silver Screens of Monroe - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Throwback Thursday: Silver Screens of Monroe

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - For this Throwback Thursday, let's take a look at what was once the entertainment hot spots of the Twin Cities.

As early as the 1920s, theaters were being built all over downtown Monroe and West Monroe. From the Capitol to the Rialto, we've seen these beautiful buildings come and go, or in some cases, come and transform.

"It started life as an opera house, and would ultimately be the Paramount," says Genealogist with the Ouachita Public Library, Larry Foreman, "It started as vaudeville, only to become a movie theater many years later."

The theater was on the corner of Desiard and North 3rd Street, and was the entertainment capitol of the Twin Cities.

"Downtown was where it was all happening," says Foreman, who houses the pictorial history of the theater among his many collections at the library.

From owner to owner, each year the theater was transformed from opera house to silver screen, but then in 1970 it was gone.

"A lot of folks came back from Vietnam trying to ask everybody they could find, why did they tear down our theater, and the real answer was urban renewal, they wanted parking spaces for downtown," says Foreman.

It
was flattened into a parking lot, that is still there today. The Paramount wasn't the only theater that would eventually be an empty lot.

"One of the things about the drive-in, was people sneaking people in the trunk," says Foreman.

Lawrence Minnifield of L&M Detail on Desiard, was part of that era.

"I was the driver!"

He remembers getting away with sneaking people in to the drive-in "a few times."

"I used to go there when I was a little boy," says Minnifield, "now I'm 53 years old, right back here employed."He now owns the detail shop just underneath the old marquee.

Now, like the Paramount, this one-time entertainment hot spot, was closed. It's now lost to the overgrown vines. A bit of history, tucked away into mother nature, but like the Paramount.. the Showtown Drive-in is certainly missed.
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