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This item originally appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

By ERIN BASS

Staff Writer

Ruston is expected to have quality entertainment provided by Celebrity Theater's opening in spring 2005.

Morrison Co., established in November 2000, is the development company in charge of Celebrity Theater, which is being built off the service road on the north side of Interstate 20.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for October, as soon as the roads going up toward the projected site are paved, Shane Morrison, owner of Morrison Co., said.

"We talked with the contractors, and [they] are very pleased with the anticipated time," Morrison said.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Morrison started working at a movie theater at the age of 15.

"I'm still tearing tickets now," he said, "[It's] just in a different capacity."

Morrison said he was approached by a few Ruston locals, who have now become some of his close friends, about building a movie theater in Ruston.

"I had been looking at Ruston as a probable market for a while because it needed entertainment," Morrison said.

Nancy Bergeron, program and communications director at the Chamber of Commerce, said this will be the first movie theater to open since the closing of Village Cinema in 1996.

"I think the entire community is excited and anticipating the new theater because it has been some time since people in Ruston were able to go to a show," Bergeron said.

"I also believe it will open doors for new developments, which will help raise the economy."

Morrison Co. is also developing the Chili's restaurant also located on the service road on the north side of I-20.

Morrison said there are also plans for another restaurant and fast food restaurant besides the Chili's.

"Ruston has needed entertainment for a long while," Morrison said. "I am surprised that it took so long since the closest movie theater was 35 miles away in West Monroe."

The 35-mile drive also costs the extra gas money that patrons unknowingly add to their movie ticket price.

"I'm excited about the theater because of two reasons; it will increase our property value, and I won't have to drive half an hour to Monroe just to see a movie," Adam MacDaniels, a sophomore business major, said.

Not having the movie theater is pinching Morrison's wallet just as much as it is Ruston residents.

"Every day we aren't building a movie theater is another day the box office isn't open creating revenue," Morrison said.

"I want this movie theater up just as fast as Ruston does."

Celebrity Theater will have 1,280 seats and, along with the parking lot, will cover over six acres.


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