The facility boasts one of the largest movie poster collections in the world
The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) joined local elected officials to celebrate the grand opening of one of the largest movie poster exhibitions in the world on Tuesday. The founders of Movie Poster Archives Gallery and Gifts cut the ribbon on a multi-purpose facility in unincorporated Gretna, which features a collection of over 1.5 million movie posters and items valued at over $10 million.
Founded in 2016 by retired Hollywood executive and Louisiana native Linda Thurman, Movie Posters Archives (MPA) is a non-profit dedicated to movie poster preservation, research, education, and exhibition. The facility was created in collaboration with Ed and Susan Poole, world-renowned movie poster and film history experts. MPA houses an exhibition space, research center, and gift shop with thousands of collectible posters, stills, celebrity photos, and oddities. The multi-purpose facility also offers a screening space that can be used for meetings. The new facility was made possible by a gift from Morris Everett, Jr., a dedicated collector and owner of The Last Moving Picture Show in Kirkland, Ohio.
“Since the 1920’s, hundreds of organizations have been dedicated to film preservation, but not a single one focused on preserving the film posters and accessories – until now,” said Ed Poole, MPA Chief Archivist. “We are so excited that Movie Posters Archives, the only non-profit dedicated to film accessory documentation and preservation, is now a reality and has found its home in Jefferson Parish.”
“After six years of planning, our gallery and research facility is finally a reality,” added Linda Thurman, MPA Executive Director. “The assistance provided by JEDCO and its outstanding staff, along with the business-friendly environment, made Jefferson Parish an easy choice.”
JEDCO worked closely with MPA to help bring this project to fruition. The JEDCO HEART team provided site selection assistance, encouraging the business to select a space that would allow them to not only support their growing archive but also to add a retail component to their activities. JEDCO connected MPA to a number of local resources, including the Jefferson Parish film office, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and Jefferson Parish’s Workforce Development Board One Stop Operator to pursue the creation of a training tool specific the archiving of film posters.
“We are excited to support the opening of this specialized multi-purpose facility in Jefferson Parish,” said JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “The entertainment industry continues to invest millions of dollars in our state annually, creating new jobs and opportunities for our residents. Movie Poster Archives Gallery has created a vibrant space to celebrate this impactful industry, shining a spotlight on the many films created right here in Jefferson Parish in the process.”
“We are honored that this team of business-savvy movie lovers chose to locate this historic collection right here in Jefferson Parish,” said Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. “Movie Poster Archives adds another layer of prestige and impact to Jefferson Parish’s dynamic entertainment industry. We look forward to supporting the continued growth, preservation, and celebration of this collection in our community.”
The entertainment industry has a long history of growth and impact in Louisiana and Jefferson Parish. In 2021, participants in the entertainment tax incentive programs delivered $170 million in Louisiana resident payroll and generated $366 million in total in-state expenditures for their productions, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED). The Jefferson Parish Film Office issued 29 permits in 2022 for productions being filmed locally.
MPA has documented more than 100 films made in Jefferson Parish through their collection. Since 1895, more than 3,000 movies have been made in or about Louisiana. MPA curated a collection of hundreds of Louisiana-filmed movie posters, which highlights Louisiana’s rich history and significant contributions to the entertainment industry. MPA’s posters come from more than 30 countries in 20 different languages.
The grand opening included tours of the research center, an exhibit of a century of original movie posters, a drawing for a Louisiana film print, and a free screening with complimentary popcorn of the new documentary Introducing Movie Poster Archives: Preserving Paper Memories.
Located in the Belle Meade Shopping Center at 605 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, MPA is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. The facility will be managed by Sarah Sutherland.