Fiske Awarded Tulane School of Architecture Dean’s Fund for Excellence Grant

!950's Fiske

NEW ORLEANS — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Tulane School of Architecture are pleased to announce the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. has been awarded the Tulane School of Architecture Deans Fund for Excellence Grant to be used for historical research of small mid-century theatres in Louisiana.

“This is tremendous news for our theatre,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment who operates the Fiske Theatre for the West Carroll Chamber said. “Since we have been involved with the theatre it has been our goal to restore her reputation as one of the most respected theatres in the region.  By being awarded this grant to be case study for an institution as prestigious as Tulane, it shows we are being noticed across the state.”

Tulane’s project will include documentation and historical research of the Ultra-Moderne Art-Deco architecture of the late B.W. Stevens who designed the Fiske Theatre as well as the Joy on Canal Street in New Orleans.  This research will include reproducing the lost blueprints of the theatre as well as preparing documentation to assist in the submission for future listing on the National Register of Historic Places when the theatre becomes eligible in coming years.

“This project, just like most of our other projects came about via accident.” W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “I had Adam doing research through the Southeastern Architecture Archives, which are housed at Tulane, in hopes of finding a copy of our blueprints to begin the process of planning for future renovations to the lobby for handicapped restrooms and an expanded concession area.  Doing this he stumbled across Andrew Liles. After hearing our story and seeing pictures of the Fiske he was so impressed with what we as the chamber along with the people of Northeast Louisiana and the Holland Family have accomplished, he became excited about our theatre and wanted to get involved by applying for this grant which will allow for his students to study our theatre.”

Liles is a practicing architect, operating his own firm in New Orleans, and is Adjunct Faculty at Tulane School of Architecture.

Liles’s oversight of the project will be joined by the director of the School of Architecture’s Master of Preservation Studies program, Professor John H. Stubbs, a native of Monroe who has spent most of his career in international architectural conservation. Stubbs has also served as advisor to the State’s current initiative to nominate Poverty Point State Historic Site in Epps, La. to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The student team will consist of a Master of Architecture candidate and two Master of Historic Preservation candidates, all of whom will measure the existing building, complete a stylistic analysis, compile historical documents, contextualize the significance of the Fiske in relation to other regional theatres and produce a publication-ready document.

“We are thrilled to be able to study and participate in the rebirth of such a great piece of American architecture,” Andrew Liles, Tulane School of Architecture said. “The Fiske, with its cutting edge design of its time, is a true example of mid-century Streamline Moderne Architecture, and we feel this study will be very beneficial to our students who will be participating in this effort.”

Through engagement with the Fiske Theatre and its Oak Grove community this Dean’s Fund project will highlight the value of small mid-century theatres in Louisiana as a case study that can be used as a tool to encourage similar preservation efforts throughout the region.   In this way, it is an opportunity for Tulane School of Architecture to serve the states northern parishes beyond Oak Grove as The Cave in Delhi and Joy in Rayville are two candidates for restoration or adaptive reuse that could benefit from a publication of the means and methods of the revitalized Fiske Theatre.

“Once again enough cannot be said about the chambers efforts to preserve this part of West Carroll’s history,” Honorary Fiske Theatre Chairman Ronald C. Fiske said. “Tulane choosing Dad’s theatre to study continues his visionary legacy of excellence, and on behalf of our family we thank Tulane and the Chamber for helping insure his investments continue to touch the lives of the people of Northeast Louisiana long after he has been gone.”

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove.  Funds from this project in no way will be used for general operation of the theatre.  For more information on the Tulane School of Architecture visit them at or on the Fiske Theatre visit or



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Attendance Rises by 17.5% in 2012 at the Fiske

Sold OutHolland Entertainment LLC, operators of the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, have announced movie attendance in 2012 increased by 17.5% over 2011 posting its largest attendance numbers since the theatre returned to operation in 2009 with 16,967 movie goers this past year.

“2012 started slow and scary,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment said. “Only 3,288 people came to the movies from January – March last year which was our lowest attendance since we have been back, but things seemed to turn around in March and stayed hot posting quarterly increases in the second and fourth quarters of the year.”

The slow start of 2012 can be attributed to the lack luster performance of the box office nationally for the final quarter of 2011 when Hollywood flooded the market with what many called less than average movie going product.  The Fiske, who generally gets movies three to four weeks after the national release date carried those products over to the new year.

The increase locally follows the national trend where attendance was up 6% nationwide in 2012 with 1.36 billion people going to the movies compared to 1.29 billion which was the lowest movie going attendance since 1994 breaking two years of declines in movie attendance.

“The slow start had us on pins and needles,” Holland said. “After being forced by the industry to make a sizeable investment in digital technology to start the year as slow as we did caused some major concerns, but when the blockbusters began to roll in mid spring we saw the people of West Carroll still saw us as a valuable part to their quality of life.”

Much of the increase in attendance can be attributed to the solid product Hollywood put out in 2012 with such films as Breaking Dawn Pt. 2, The Avengers, Dark Knight, Hunger Games, The Amazing Spiderman and the sleeper hit, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, all of which performed better than expected at the box office.

“Movie going is a tradition in America,” Holland said. “Yes home technology has improved and release windows are getting shorter, but you cannot get at home what we offer at the cinema and that is Big Screens, Big Sound and most importantly that escape from reality and the communal movie going experience.  That is why movie going    has been and always will be the American people’s first choice for away from the home entertainment.”

The Fiske also debuted its newly renovated auditorium thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of Northeast Louisiana with the Chamber’s Operation 2012 Fundraiser and Project which gave the theatre her biggest facelift since she opened in April of 1950.

Holland is very optimistic about 2013 as Hollywood seems to have gotten the picture after the dismal to 2011 and the product seems to be strong in the coming year.

“We look to start 2013 strong with big award winning hits like LINCOLN, THE HOBBIT, and LES MISERABLES,” Holland said.  “Things look like they will fade some mid-spring but the summer and fall look hot with the new SUPER MAN “MAN OF STEEL,” LONE RANGER and many more.”

The Fiske Theatre is Northeast Louisiana’s oldest operating and last single screen movie theatre.  The Fiske is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La.

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New Fiske Theatre Opens Friday Night

OAK GROVE, La. — In 2010 she was named “North Louisiana’s Grand Dame of Movie Theatres” by the regional daily paper and this Friday night when her doors open to the public the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. will retake her place as the most modern and well equipped theatre in the state after undergoing an extensive make over funded by private donations.

A VIP Gala for those who contributed to the Operation 2012 Fund and past employees will take place Thursday night.

“Enough cannot be said about the outpouring of support we have received from the people of Northeast Louisiana in terms of donations and labor,” Operation 2012 Project Coordinator and Fiske Theatre Operator Adam Holland said.  “Going into this project back in the spring this was just a dream that we felt could be a reality, once the donations starting coming in we knew we were going to make it happen.”

Since the beginning of July renovations have been underway that has brought West Carroll Parish’s most iconic landmark back to her glory as the nicest place to see a movie in Northeast Louisiana.

When guest return the main floor of the theatre Friday night they will be treated to absolute luxury.  New wider seats with memory foam cushions and expanded leg room have replaced the 62 year old spring cushioned seats.  Other physical improvements made to the auditorium include repairing and painting the ceiling, walls and floor and covering the portion of the wall below the chair rail with carpet to absorb sound.

“We are very pleased with the way the auditorium has turned out,” Operation 2012 Co-Chairman John Elliott said. “The color scheme that our decorators picked out really adds to the movie going environment and provides a very relaxing sense to the entire experience of coming to the movies.”

The movie going experience has also been enhanced with the addition of Dolby 7.1 Digital Surround sound along with new and better speakers directed at the main floor of the auditorium to provide more crisp sound for patrons.

“The upgrade to Dolby 7.1 is a huge advancement for the theatre,” Holland said.  “Dolby 7.1 is the latest advancement in digital sound technology and we are the first theatre in North Louisiana to be able to provide this to movie goers.  With Dolby 7.1 you will feel as if you are immersed in the movie with dedicated sound coming from all angles at different points of the picture.”

No stone was left unturned, the lobby and restrooms also have been given upgrades and fresh paint along with much needed repairs to the overhang in the front of the theatre.

“We are so grateful to the people of Northeast Louisiana for supporting this project and bringing this magnificent building back to where she belongs to be as movie theatre in our region.” Holland said. “It is an honor to be at the helm of this great ship, the trust placed in me and my family to guide it and provide quality entertainment and a first class experience to the citizens of the region is a responsibility that we do not take for granted.”

The New Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 by the late Donald B. Fiske and was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 1988 shortly before his death.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Operated by Holland Entertainment LLC.  All funds raised by the chamber for Operation 2012 were used for upgrades and repairs to the theatre and the project books are available upon request.

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Fire Marshall Green Lights Fiske Theatre Project Plans

MONROE, La. — The Office of the Louisiana State Fire Marshall gave his stamp of approval to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Project to restore the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La., Thursday at his satellite office in Monroe, La. clearing the way for the project to start once the bid selection and fund raising portions of the project are complete.

“This is a step in the right direction, “ W.C. Chamber President H. Doug Ainsworth said. “We knew going in that we had to have the fire marshall’s approval before we could begin actual work on the project.  Now that this hurdle has been completed, everything is on go to begin the project hopefully at the end of July/first part of August.”

The State Fire Marshall’s approval of the project was necessary due to changing the seating layout of the theatre and the reduction of its seating capacity due to the new seats being larger than those that were installed in the theatre in 1950.

Under the new seating layout, the seating capacity of the theatre will be reduced from its current capacity of 653 to 524. By reducing the seating capacity, the area between seats will be widened from 20 inches to 35 inches which will allow for more comfort and leg room for movie goers. The new seats will also be about 4 inches wider and will feature cup holders. The new layout also features eight reserved assessable seating areas with permanent companion seats that will be located in the center of the auditorium rather than those with disabilities being segregated to the rear aisle of the auditorium.

The Fire Marshall also approved the Chamber and Holland Entertainment’s plans to continue to occupy and operate the theatre during the construction phase of the project.

“In its initial writing on the project, the Fire Marshall’s office had said occupation of the theatre would not be permitted until the project was complete, and he had signed a completion certificate which caused us some concern,” Adam Holland, President of Holland Entertainment which operates the theatre for the chamber said. “However his approval letter is quoted as saying, ‘It shall not be the intent of this office to prevent operation of the theatre during phases of the renovation work as long as our conditions are followed.’ which means normal operation of the theatre will continue uninterrupted.”

During the construction phase of the project the theatre will operate out of the balcony and movies will continue as scheduled.

To date the fundraising tally is at $23,228 which is just only $6,772 away from its goal of $30,000 which will allow for all of the committee’s charge to be completed. To make a donation contact John Elliott at Regions Bank (318-428-9626) or Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment, LLC of Oak Grove.  All funds raised will be used for theatre restoration and project books are available for review upon request.

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Terry Denmon Donates $10,000 To Theatre Project

Pictured Left to Right: Terry Denmon, Mrs. Doris Denmon, and Chamber President H. Dough Ainsworth.

Denmon Propels Chamber Closer to Goal

Oak Grove native and successful businessman Terry Denmon propelled the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Committee closer to its goal of $30,000 to be used to restore the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La with a donation of $10,000 toward the project which includes replacing the seats, repairing and painting the ceiling and replacing the front doors.

As of press time the tally to date stands at $22,183.

“We are very appreciative of Mr. Denmon’s donation to our cause,” Chamber President Doug Ainsworth who accepted the check on behalf of the committee said.  “It is always great to have a person who has become as successful as Mr. Denmon has in his field give back to his home town.  This donation brings us within striking distance of being able to complete all we have planned to do in returning our theatre to her rightful spot as the ‘Grand Dame of Movie Theatres’ in Northeast Louisiana.”

Donations are still being accepted by the chamber and can be made by visiting your neighborhood Regions Bank (Instruct them to contact the Oak Grove Branch for Account Information) or by contacting John Elliott at 318-428-9626 or Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996.

The committee is also currently accepting bids for the painting portion of the project.  For more information on the bidding process contact Adam Holland at 318-282-6938.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove.  All contributions to the Operation 2012 Project will be used for theatre restoration with no funds being used for general theatre operations.  Project books are available to the public upon request.

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Chamber’s Operation 2012 Committee Crosses $10,000 Mark for Fiske Renovation

OAK GROVE, La. — The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 2012 Committee which is charged with raising $30,000 to complete the restoration of the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. has announced it has crossed the $10,000 mark in its fundraising efforts. As of press time the latest tally was $10,575.

“We are excited we have come this far, this fast,” Operation 2012 Chairman Robyn Creech said. “We have come along way toward reaching our goal, but still have a way to go but we are confident we will reach the mark we have set.”

The purpose of the fundraiser is to complete the Chamber’s renovation of the theatre by replacing the seats, repairing/repainting the ceiling and replacing the front doors of the theatre.

“From the start this has been an ambitious project,” Creech said. “But the ultimate goal will benefit all of Northeast Louisiana by bringing one of the regions most cherished landmarks back to her glory and allow her to continue to entertain rural Northeast Louisiana with affordable family entertainment.”

Donations can be made by calling your local branch of Regions Bank or by calling the Oak Grove Branch at 318-428-9626, Project Chairman Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996 or the theatre at 318-428-8289.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove. All funds raised from this project will go toward theatre restoration and no funds will be used for general theatre operation. Project books are available for review by request.

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Chamber Announces Operation 2012 “Finish Fiske Theatre Restoration”


New seats located now in Idaho, looking to be moved to Oak Grove

OAK GROVE, La.— The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce has announced the formation of its Operation 2012 Committee which is charged with raising $30,000 to complete the restoration of the Fiske Theatre which began in 2007.

Goals of the project are to replace the seating on the main floor of the theatre, repair and paint the auditorium ceiling, and replace the front doors to the theatre.

“This is an ambitious project,” Operation 2012 Chairman Robyn Creech said. “But it is a project that is attainable and will be an asset to our community not just Oak Grove, and West Carroll Parish but all of Northeast Louisiana.”

The Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 and at the time was one of the nicest theatres in the nation with a seating capacity of 700. However in 62 years’ time buildings begin to show their age. Since 2007 the Chamber, under the guidance of the Fiske Theatre Committee has made approximately $100,000 in improvements to the building using primarily theatre income, with some financial and in-kind donations from local businessmen and donations of equipment from larger theatre chains across the nation.

“In 1988, my father, Donald B. Fiske Sr., and our family donated the theatre to the West Carroll Chamber to provide a place to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Northeast Louisiana,” Honorary Committee Chairman Ronald C. Fiske said. “We knew that the chamber would maintain this facility that meant so much to our family and this community, and would keep it from going the same way as so many of these downtown theatres across the nation have gone throughout the years. They should be commended for their work and I am honored to be asked to help them finish their goal of bringing Dad’s theatre back to her glory.”

The number one complaint that patrons have when coming to the Fiske Theatre is its seating. In 1950 people were a lot smaller, plus the architectural trend of the time was not comfort, but to fit as many seats into the room as possible. The chamber has located 500 used, but vibrant, seats in Idaho that can be purchased for a reasonable price. These seats are about 5 inches wider than the existing seats and have cup holders attached. When the seats are replaced 13 inches of leg room will be added between rows. While the seats are out of the auditorium it is also the time to repair and paint the ceiling that suffered significant damage from roof leaks during the 1980’s. These enhancements, along with replacing the front doors to the theatre that can’t be locked due to an outdated manufactures’ style will cost approximately $30,000.

The Operation 2012 Committee is currently in contact with numerous potential donors and has set-up an account at Regions Bank of Oak Grove, La. for anyone who would like to make an anonymous donation. For a $100 donation or more your name will be placed on a plaque in the theatre lobby and you will be invited to an exclusive red-carpet screening when the project is complete. Also with any donation of $50 or more you may have one of the existing seats for your nostalgia purposes once the project begins.

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC. All donations to the Operation 2012 fund will be administered by the chamber and none of the funds will be used for general theatre operation. The books for the project will be made available to the public by request.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone in regards to making a donation, contact Robyn Creech at 318-282-9996 or call the theatre at 318-428-8289.

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35 mm Era Ends and Digital Begins at Fiske

OAK GROVE, La. — Friday November 18 at 4 p.m. a century old era officially came to an end and a new era began as the Fiske Theatre in Oak Grove, La. became the first Independent Theatre in North Louisiana to become 100% digital.

The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce, owners of the Fiske Theatre and Holland Entertainment LLC, operators, announce the transition of the Fiske Theatre to Digital Cinema Presentation in time for the beginning of its Christmas Season.The first film to be shown in this new format was “Twlight: Breaking Dawn.”

“We are proud of the commitment the Holland family has made to the theatre,” W.C. Chamber President Brenda Hagan said. “The sizable investment they are making to make this transition shows their dedication to providing quality family entertainment in our historic theatre for years to come.”

The motion picture industry in the United States have been transitioning away from 35 mm film over the past few years and this transition has picked up pace within the last few months, experts say that by January 2013, 35 mm prints will no longer be available for exhibition in the USA.

“In one since this transition is like losing and old friend,” Adam Holland, President, Holland Entertainment said. “35 mm has been the bread and butter of our industry since the days of Thomas Edison, but the quality and versatility that this 21st Century technology will allow us to provide our patrons brings with it much excitement and possibilities, this will be the biggest advancement in the West Carroll Parish cinema going experience since movies learned to talk with the “Jazz Singer” in 1928.”

Digital projection will provide movie goers top quality presentation each time a movie plays, and will also allow the theatre the capabilities of providing alternative content such as Broadway Plays, Metropolitan Opera, Rock Concerts, Classic Movies and live sporting events.

Throughout the history of the Fiske Theatre, it has always been on the cutting edge of technology.  In 1951 the year after the new theatre opened Mr. Fiske was awarded Exhibitor and Theatre Catalog’s Merit Award as being the most modern and well-appointed theatre in the nation.

“Since we returned the theatre to operations as a motion picture house it has always been our goal to bring the theatre back to her glory as one of the most advanced theatres in the region,” Holland said. “Being the first independent to make this move shows that we are once again one of the leaders in our industry.”

The Fiske Theatre is owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and operated by Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La.

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McDonald’s Donation Renovates Theatre Marquee

Tony Gilley, President of Gilley Enterprises of West Monroe, La. recently donated $5,000 to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce Fiske Theatre Account to be used for renovations to the theatre’s marquee lighting.

“We extend the utmost appreciation to Mr. Gilley and his staff.” Chamber Director Adam Holland said. “We have come along way with our renovation of the theatre and this donation allowed us to check off one more of our needs list to get the theatre back to pristine condition.”

The theatre wasted no time in putting the money to work, theatre staff along with David Stauffer of S&S Electrical and inmates from the West Carroll Sheriff’s office replaced the 81 light fixtures in just three days having the marquee back in operation by the weekend’s showing of Madea’s Big Happy Family.

“This donation from Mr. Gilley shows how his organization is dedicated to the communities they are apart of, we look forward to working with him even more when the restaurant opens this fall,” Holland said.

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The Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center, or LA BEOC, an annex to the State Emergency Operations Center, is now activated to prepare for Mississippi River flooding and related impacts.

Louisiana’s businesses are strongly encouraged to register with the LA BEOC portal –- — so that they can participate in the process and have a voice in the state’s preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

The LA BEOC provides timely and official information of importance to registered businesses before, during and after a major event. This includes notification of state and local decisions pertinent to business recovery and employee safety. Registered businesses, in turn, can provide on-the-ground intelligence related to the status of their business. By reporting problems directly to the LA BEOC, businesses can help public sector officials prioritize recovery operations.

Participation by state businesses of all sizes and from all sectors helps government officials make informed decisions and speeds up the economic recovery process. The LA BEOC also uses Louisiana businesses to fill resource requests from the affected areas. A business must be registered on the portal to communicate its ability to provide goods and services through emergency disaster contracting mechanisms. While the LA BEOC connects Louisiana companies to the state’s emergency contracting processes, no governmental agency can guarantee the utilization of any business during an activation of the LA BEOC.

The LA BEOC represents the collaboration of Louisiana Economic Development, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute, and LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. During a disaster in Louisiana, the LA BEOC supports the coordination of activities and resources for businesses and volunteer organizations in Louisiana and across the nation. LA BEOC support of the private sector will improve response and self-sufficiency and will reduce reliance on FEMA and other federal assistance.

Partners driving progress,

The NELEA team

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