DON’T WORRY. BE HAPPY.
Ah, what a message, one that, in these turbulent times, seems difficult to follow. Or even consider. Yet, focusing on the positives and joys in life feels more important than ever right now. Not that we should ignore the challenges—and there are many today—but rather balance them with also viewing the bright side of life.
Don’t worry, be happy. Those words from the 1988 hit song by Bobby McFerrin make me smile all these years later. At the cheesy simplicity. At the thought that we can focus on the light of happiness even in the worries of darkness.
With that, I shift to a series of photos I took in downtown Le Sueur in late August 2020. I typically fall behind in posting my images given all I shoot during the warm weather months here in Minnesota. Regardless, this seems the right time to pull these photos from the archives and share a bit of “happy.”
Visually documenting small towns like Le Sueur, a community of some 4,000 in southern Minnesota, is often a focus of my photography. I delight in the details, the architecture, the only-in-a-small-town scenes, the history, people and more that define these communities.
PHOTOS FROM OCTOBER 2016:
And so, while walking through the heart of downtown Le Sueur, I came across the vacant Le Sueur Theater and its once beautiful marquee. I remember photographing this theater previously and lamenting its abandonment. But then, while researching for this post, I discovered a reason to feel happy. Thankful, really.
In March 2019, cleaning, repair (roof, walls, etc) and restoration began on this building vacated in 2008. Work to preserve, restore, replicate, replace and reinforce the marquee is expected to begin in the spring. You can find details about the ongoing project on the Le Sueur Theater Facebook page by clicking here.
Leading the project is Katie Elke of Le Sueur, who bought the building in 2016 and plans to reopen the theater for cinema, music, theatrical performances, comedy shows and other entertainment, making it a community gathering spot.
I love this plan. This idea. I’ve watched as my own community of Faribault restored an historic theater into the Paradise Center for the Arts, a center for arts, entertainment and more. That the good folks of Le Sueur and the surrounding area will now have a similar hub makes me happy. I recognize that this happens only with plenty of funding (Katie started a go fund me site), hard work and enthusiastic support. Some day I hope to step inside the restored Le Sueur Theater and show you how a plan, along with grit, determination, effort, money and a whole lot of happy can take an idea to reality. Even, and especially, during a global pandemic.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Love vintage theaters and the message is certainly a good one.
Agree and agree.
Loved this post…since I was somewhat familiar with the matter. River Valley Woman (that I write for) did a story about the theatre in our November issue, page 18-19. You can check it out online. I didn’t write the story…but I proofread the magazine so that was my first hearing of it. Will be interesting to follow it as it develops.
Ruth, it’s good to hear from you. I read the well done story published in River Valley Woman as I was researching for this post. And, yes, it will be interesting to see how this theater project develops. I’m impressed by the progress thus far.
I always enjoy seeing buildings and such being restored.
Agreed. I appreciate this shift from earlier decades when the prevailing attitude was to tear down and build new.
Terrific project showing home town spirit; I will follow on the Facebook page. Thanks for the link and post.
You are welcome. I like your assessment of “hometown spirit.”