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Push to restore historic Lincoln Theater, once a Baton Rouge cultural hub, enters new stage | News – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-07-25 13:30:00 –

GibKo Signs workers are an old neon marquee in front of the historic Lincoln Theater, once the social and cultural touchstone of Button Rouge, which attracted the great African-American performers of the 1950s and 1960s. Prepared carefully to get rid of.

Workers supported an approximately 1,200-pound marquee with an overhead crane, removed loose parts of the sign, and cut bolts and other connections with a blowtorch to pull the sign away from the theater’s exterior walls. It was installed in the mid-1950s.

But in the end, the old-fashioned muscles of Jackie Thomason, a GibKoSigns worker, were needed to get the job done. The first floor was erected on the overhang of the theater, and a huge marquee was slowly and carefully pried open from the support with long beams.

Watch this video to see the instructions for removing the sign.

Workers with a give-sign in Bunkie, Louisiana will drop the marquee in front of the historic Lincoln Theater on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. mark…

Slow and lasting muscle application is a devoted group of volunteers from the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame trying to create a theater that was once the hub of the urban African-American community and a node of the vitality of the old people. May be the motto of South Baton Rouge again.

For more than a decade, the Hall of Fame organization has sought to raise state and federal funding and local donations to restore and renovate buildings already registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Proponents said the removal of the marquee and the larger rooftop sign earlier that day marked the beginning of another phase of the effort.

The group has the vision of transforming the Lincoln Theater into the home of the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame Museum. It could also serve as a cultural space to bring people and art back to this corner of Myrtlewalk Street and Eddie Robinson Senior Drive, two blocks from I-10.

Brenda Perry Dunn, the driving force behind the restoration of the theater and the founder of the Hall of Fame, said the theater had an impact on the lives of many at the time. She said it was one of several historic buildings in the old South Baton Rouge that has played a role in changing the state.

“Education, historic culture, entertainment, civil rights and the impact of the Lincoln Theater. We are trying to preserve and restore that heritage and re-promote it to become another educational sector in the community,” said Dan. Mr. says.

Baton Rouge’s historic Lincoln Theater, which hosted Nat King Cole and others during the 1950s prime, is about to win a long away …

Opened by 1951, the theater was built by Dr. AL Chatman, a black doctor at Baton Rouge. This doctor is also said to have contributed to the construction of the Lincoln Hotel. Just a few blocks from the theater, according to the National Register, the hotel is another important historic building in the city’s black history. document..

During the heyday of the Lincoln Theater, in the isolated era of the 1950s and 1960s, it was one of the few cinemas and concert halls that catered to the black community and did not shunt them to the “colored” balconies behind. ..

The theater also served as a commercial district for black-owned businesses associated with the Baton Rouge Citizenship Movement, which housed pharmacies, barber shops, confectionery stores, and the headquarters of the United Defense League for at least a year. The group, along with Rev. TJ Jemison, led the Baton Rouge bass boycott in 1953, according to National Register documents. This was two years ago when the city directory showed that the group was based in the theater.

According to the Hall of Fame, the theater saw a share of music icons: Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, The Ink Spots, James Brown history And national registration documents.

One of the unexpected consequences of eliminating racism is the release of legal racist restrictions and the blacks of the South as African-American residents who patronized previously denied companies. It had a negative impact on the owning company.

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The theater was closed in the mid-1980s and rarely reopened as commercial patterns changed and Lincoln’s older generation of business owners moved. The marquee, labeled with the words “Lincoln, playing now,” has a hole in it today that the performer’s name would once have been shining.

Local developers and architects are working to establish a new historic district near downtown, east of Interstate 110.

On Wednesday, Diane James, 71, and Darryl Maggie, 61, sat on James’ front porch along Eddie Robinson Senior Drive, opposite the back of the theater. The power was temporarily turned off while the sign was removed. James and Maggie were cool outside.

James, Maggie, and another neighbor, who were children when Lincoln opened or weren’t alive, still remembered the black performers who continued to appear in theaters, including the famous comedian Richard Pryor. .. They said the theater was part of the string business that once circulated around the theater along Eddie Robinson and is now the area they said was “dead.”

“If they do this again here, it could come back … the community could come back to life,” McGee said. Do you know what I’m saying, like Hokkaido University? Everything you wanted to do, or what you wanted to see, was in this area. ”

“I didn’t have to go to the malls and everything down to downtown, it was here,” added James, who lived in the old town of South Baton Rouge for the rest of his life.

In 2009, the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame purchased a theater from the Louisiana State Capitol for $ 350,000 and the former Louisiana History Foundation for $ 3,000.

Since then, the effort has gone up and down in financing, but has gradually increased income and donations to continue working.

Carolyn Bennett, the Black History Hall of Fame in Louisiana, said: Officer Former director of the Louisiana Historical Foundation, now known as the Louisiana Reserve.

The group received $ 639,000 in federal community development block subsidies through the city parish government. They have been used to repair mold and other environmental conditions, roof repairs, and some theater seats and marquees, says Tasha Sanders, district foreman of community and urban development.

On Wednesday, GibKoSigns project manager Nicky Bordelon noted the delicate details of ArtModerne Marquee’s finer architectural details, such as the flaky green color of the signboard CERAMIC Center.

Bolderon said workers are trying to save as much marquee as possible before the marquee is taken back to the company’s banky office.

“And we will do our best to restore the sign when it was installed in the building in 1955,” he said.

The large red sign on the roof of the Lincoln Theater, which was destroyed by a storm a few years ago, has also been removed, but will not be recovered.

Other work stages, such as seat repairs and other interior modifications, needed more money, Dan said, waiting for how many dollars to come this year through state sources.

With enough money, Dan said he would like to bid for the next step soon and hold some ribbon-cut event near the end of the year, even if the work isn’t completely finished.



Push to restore historic Lincoln Theater, once a Baton Rouge cultural hub, enters new stage | News Source link Push to restore historic Lincoln Theater, once a Baton Rouge cultural hub, enters new stage | News

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