To say that there is no greater life change than having a baby is like saying it’s hot in the summer, and for any woman who has been pregnant or had a young infant during summer in New Orleans, both of these truths are almost too real to face.
Getting out of the house with a baby when it feels like you’re living on the surface of the sun becomes almost a Herculean effort, but The Broad Street Theater is now offering moms and dads a chance to get to the movies and, even more importantly, take advantage of a heavily air-conditioned space.
Once upon a time, in an era long before the huge metroplexes that we know and love today, movie theaters were neighborhood spots that had only one or two screens, and matinees were reserved for dropping off children for a cartoon and a movie. Most of these old theaters also had glass rooms with sound piped in so parents of young babies could catch the show without bothering other guests. Despite the penitential feel, it was at least an option for people with young babies to get to the movies.
The Broad Theater, like its Uptown neighbor the Prytania, hearkens back to that earlier time while taking advantage of modern conveniences. In addition to four screens and the usual movie fare, parents can also enjoy their kitchen’s offerings or an adult beverage from their full bar (the theater politely asks that children not approach or sit at the bar per state law). You can also purchase tickets ahead online and skip the wait at the theater.
Of particular interest to those trapped inside with new babies this summer is the theater’s Bring Your Own Baby, or BYOB(aby), event. Instead of a glass room with crying babies, the theater opens one screen for a Thursday matinee of one of their current features. If you’re lucky enough to have a morning napper, you can watch a movie without the worry of having to leave if your little one wakes up. The theater even offers the option to purchase a sushi lunch from Asuka (there are four options and sushi is ordered promptly at 11 a.m.).
If not bringing your little one for sushi and a film, the kitchen features movie-theater favorites that have grown up a bit. While kids can still get nachos, hot dogs and, of course, popcorn, there are also grab-and-go options from St. James Cheese company and flavored popcorn, including herbed and garlic brown butter or soy with Korean chili and fish sauce. Four screens means that there’s almost always something for everyone to see, even if they don’t agree, and the theater has been featuring local and art-house films for the budding cinephile in your household.
The Broad Theater is the site of the old Movie Pitchers, the quirky eclectic independent movie theater that was much beloved for those that remember it. The building is also one of the few examples of Spanish Mission-style architecture in the city. Since opening, the theater has been plagued by flooding both last summer and more recently in May. However, for many, the Broad Theater is a welcome addition to an increasingly vibrant community in Mid-City.
At the very least, for a few new parents this summer it will also be an air-conditioned refuge where you can eat sushi in the dark and escape into a cinematic world without anyone being the wiser.
JUST THE FACTS…
The Broad Theater636 N. Broad St.
Tickets: $8 for Matinee, $10 for evening (adults); $8 for children
BYOB(aby): Every Thursday at 11 a.m.