By Calla Victoria
Enter Lucky Johnson, native New Orleanian, accomplished actor, writer, and movie producer; with a degree in Performing Arts and Media in Theater and Film. Lucky Johnson and first cousin Tyler Perry were bitten with the acting bug at a very young age, in fact, he and Tyler were the family’s entertainment at every opportunity. They would perform elaborate full-length plays. Lucky Johnson’s mother Mrs. Jerry Banks was Tyler’s inspiration for his signature Madea character.
Inspired by his uber successful cousin Tyler, Lucky Johnson has spread his wings and opened The Lucky Johnson Studios and Theater for The Performing Arts at 8801 Chef Hwy in New Orleans East. With this bold move Lucky Johnson has made history as The Lucky Johnson Studios and Theater for The Performing Arts becomes the first African-American owned movie studio in New Orleans, and the second in the nation only eclipsed by his cousin Tyler and The Tyler Perry Studios in Georgia.
The Lucky Johnson Studios and Theater for The Performing Arts is a sprawling campus that sets on roughly a half acre of land and consists of 6 buildings including the four-story Education Building. On the top floor of the Education Building are classrooms where acting and film production classes are held. Adjacent to the classroom is the internet radio station which is worldwide. On the basement level of the Education Building is the Gym/Game Room where young men can hangout, decompress and relax in a safe space. Lucky Johnson’s vision for his campus is to take advantage of the bustling movie industry in Louisiana, and to generate funding, but also to provide training, life-choice alternatives, and mentoring opportunities for young African-American men.
The campus also houses the bright and spacious Little Angels Daycare Center building catering to ages newborn to 4 years old. There is also a Banquet Hall/Restaurant providing catering and repass services. Another building on the campus houses The Dance Studio which offers ballet, tap, choreography, jazz, modern dance, and fitness classes. There is also an Aftercare Facility for youth ages 4 and up, as well as corporate and staff meeting rooms.
Embarking on such a massive endeavor as this, one has to assemble a strong core team. To that end Lucky Johnson has aligned himself with two dynamic African-American women as his right and left hands. Ms. Helena Nealy, who is also a community activist and founder of The Mother’s Circle, she is Lucky Johnson’s Director of Public Relations/Marketing. While Charlain Hubbard is Lucky’s Executive Assistant/Chief Cook and bottle washer and Maven of the Dance Studio.
The crown jewel of The Lucky Johnson Studios and Theater for The Performing Arts complex is an elegant, split-level, 500 seat capacity Performing Arts Theater. Both the lobby and plush theater are adorned with massive crystal chandeliers that add the feel of opulence. This venue is available for stage plays, comedy shows, variety shows, weddings, seminars, funerals, and memorials.
This facility will be an anchor for the New Orleans East Community offering ongoing activities to revitalize the area. Upcoming events include a 9,000-toy giveaway around December 20, it will also be a part of the Festival of Lights on Chef, where visitors can drive through or walk through the campus that will be ablaze with Christmas lights.
The Lucky Johnson Studios and Theater for The Performing Arts is brand new and has only just opened a few months. For more information on this facility go to Luckyjohnsoncampus.com.