Cave Theatre

Cave Theatre front and side

The 1945-46 Cave Theatre is a brick veneer building with ‘Modernistic’ details (Louisiana Department of Historic Preservation).  It seated 476 patrons when opened.  A particularly impressive detail is the curved-front ticket booth, pictured below in the right corner of the entrance.

I have been unable to locate any information about the theatre’s historic presence in Delhi, although efforts have been underway since at least mid 2000s for restoration, although not without some drama and difficulty.  The Delhi financial statement for fiscal year ending September 2013 indicated the city had budgeted $40,000 expected revenue from a state grant for the theatre, yet received only $10,000.  They budgeted expenses of $40,000, and incurred $66,046 in expenses.  Even with a $5,000 donation for the Cave, they ended up in the hole, and because the city exceeded the 5% variance on line items and did not amend the budget, the auditor found them in noncompliance with Louisiana law.

In further theatrical drama, an audit of city funds in 2014 found that the former mayor had been reimbursed for travel for over $600, to states of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, allegedly to purchase equipment for the Cave Theatre.  No supporting documents could be provided to substantiate any purchases.

Meanwhile, I cannot find any recent news on the status of the theatre.

This entry was posted in Art Deco architecture, Historic Downtowns, Louisiana, Modernism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Cave Theatre

  1. socialbridge says:

    You’ve really got me thinking about all those patrons.


  2. bronsondorsey says:

    I love the doors and the amazing stainless steel (or polished aluminum) ticket booth. Very stylish Art Moderne design. The sign seems out of scale to the building. Was it the original?


    • Suzassippi says:

      I could not find out much about the building, other than the brief description of from the NRHP form. I thought I read somewhere that the front of the theater burned and was replaced, but I cannot now seem to find that source. If that was the case, the sign might have been more fitting on the original, as I had the same thought that it looked too small.


  3. janebye says:

    When I was a teen, I had several friends who worked at movie theaters and it seemed like a much cooler job than mine (working at a pizza joint)! Love the ticket booth!


  4. Sheryl says:

    I’m intrigued by the neon sign. It probably looked awesome when it brightly lit the front of the building in days gone by.


  5. Suzassippi says:

    The Queen was demolished in 1974. (I think that was before your time, J. 🙂 It was still there when I went to McMurry in 1968, though I think it was closed by then. I recall some maroon colored tile. I have photos from when Mom worked there in the 1940s. I should make some copies! It was located on the corner where the Vera Minter memorial park (the one with the waterfall) was built.


  6. Suzassippi says:

    Oh, and speaking of “what fun” one of my favorite stories of Mom’s was the time a woman came up to the popcorn counter and said she wanted “fresh” popcorn. Mom said, “This is fresh, I just popped it and boxed it.” A few minutes later, the woman came back, slammed the box on the counter and said, “I said I wanted FRESH.” Mother slammed a dime (yes, popcorn was a dime) on the counter and said, “And this was fresh as I had just popped it and boxed it!” Then she went in tears to her boss (keep in mind, she was an 18 year old girl from Elbert, Texas) and he told her it was good to give the customer back her money if she was not happy, but do not do it that way again. I think we could all use that as a reminder, now that I think about it.


  7. Elaine says:

    My memory of the movies in Delhi wasn’t so pleasant. My memory is of segregation and devision. I remember my first movie outing at the Cave was seeing the colored and white signs and being directed upstairs to the balcony. I remember my older siblings shushing me when I laughed or talked so I don’t disturb the white folks seated below ( I was 8 yrs old). I don’t remember being allowed to buy popcorn. I grew up in this town with so much unfairness that when I go back to visit family it is just depressing. I do understand that”s how things were back then. The sad thing about it is, things haven’t really changed that much. The apparent segregation signs are gone but racial division still lingers, and social division still lingers even within the races.


    • Suzassippi says:

      Hi, Elaine, and thanks for sharing your perspective. It is sad that so much remains unchanged, and it is also infuriating. Structural racism, sexism, heterosexism and any other oppressive and discriminatory actions are wrong and damage all of us, but none more than those who experience the oppression daily.


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