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The Carver Theater is listed within the National Register of Historic Places because it represents an important phenomenon in the entertainment history of New Orleans’ large African-American population -- the development of theaters in the city’s black neighborhoods.
On Sept. 29, 1950, the Carver Theater opened to great fanfare. It was hailed as “America’s first theater for colored patrons'' and boasted a “spacious powder room and lounge with a maid in attendance at all times for the comfort of ladies.” The first two showings starred John Wayne in “The Sands of Iwo Jima” and “Unknown Island”; these premiers were preceded by a Woody Woodpecker cartoon.
The Carver Theater was named after the famed Negro educator and one of the 20th century's greatest scientists, George Washington Carver. It was built specifically to cater for a Negro audience and was designed by Dallas based architect Jack Corgan. It is located just ten blocks from the French Quarter, proximal to downtown New Orleans, and on the fringe of the Faubourg Treme, the oldest community of free Blacks in the United States.
After the shutdown of the movie screen in 1980, from 1992 until August 2005, The Historic Carver Theater was home to the Carver Medical Clinic, primarily serving the Lafitte Housing Development. The current owner, Dr. Eugene Oppman joined the clinic in 1987 and later purchased the facility in 1991; employing two general practitioners, a dentist, a pharmacist and an ophthalmologist.
Having sustained irreparable damage from six feet of flood water during hurricane Katrina, the medical clinic was permanently closed.It sustained serious damage from Hurricane Katrina and sat in 5 feet of floodwater for more than two weeks after the levees failed. After exploring several options, Dr. Oppman decided it was time to return the Historic Carver Theater to its proper place as a community entertainment venue. After demolishing the remnants of the clinic, It reopened as a multipurpose venue last April after an $8 million renovation.