Newly opened Arcade Theater is a replica of original

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 13, 2008

FERRIDAY — To the cheers of onlookers, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne officially opened the Arcade Theater with a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday evening.

The newly constructed Arcade is a replica of the original Arcade Theater that stood at the same Louisiana Avenue location from the 1920s until it was demolished in January of 2007. It will serve as an extension of the Delta Music Museum.

For Janice Crochet, who worked for the Arcade as a ticket collector and concession stand worker from the ages of 14 to 16, seeing the theater rebuilt brings back a lot of memories.

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“I’m excited,” she said. “This was the hangout when we were teenagers.”

Tracy Roberts, whose father Dixie Roberts was manager at the theater during the 1960s and 1970s, said the reconstruction meant a lot to his family.

“My mother met my dad here, so it’s a special place,” he said.

Getting the project completed was a part of a corporate effort between the town and the secretary of state’s office, Delta Music Museum Director Judith Bingham said.

“Not one person can take the accolades for this project,” she said.

The new Arcade is a part of the secretary of state’s attempt to bring more tourism to the delta region and to Louisiana as a whole, Dardenne said.

“This has been a long time in coming, and this will certainly be an asset to this town and this region,” Dardenne said.

The Friends of the Delta Music Museum Foundation and the employees of the secretary of state’s office deserve thanks, Dardenne said.

“They are committed to our efforts to preserve Louisiana history and show how Louisiana is different than the other 49 states,” he said.

Country musician Mickey Gilley was an honored guest at the ribbon-cutting event.

Easy Eddie and the Partyrockers performed the first event at the new Arcade to a sold-out crowd Wednesday night, and Gilley joined the band for some songs.

The reconstruction effort was funded by the secretary of state’s office, and Don M. Barron Contractors built the building.