Diamond Film Company Studios
Diamond Film Company operated entirely in New Orleans from 1918 to 1920. Located on Bayou Saint John, the complex was equipped for a range of production activities, including carpentry shops for set design and scenery, makeup and costume rooms, lighting equipment storage, rehearsal space, machine repair shops, and even a large filming studio covered in glass to let light in. Many film reels and several feature films were produced entirely at the complex. Present day 1347 Moss Street served as Diamond's general offices.
R. M. Chisholm, a wealthy New Orleanian with ties to the oil field industry, founded the Diamond Film Company in the summer of 1917. At that time, his other business, the Interstate, Oil, Gas, and Development Company, was under investigation by the State Supreme Court for embezzlement. Under the advice of Arthur Leopold, Chisholm’s lawyer the Diamond Film Company company collected 100,000 dollars worth of investment money to begin their entrepreneurial venture in the entertainment industry.
In June of 1918, Chisholm stepped down as president, “owing press to another business.” Shortly after, he sold one of Diamond Film Company's major assets, Diamond Theater. The speculation of why Chisholm sold the theater was thought to be solved when news of the oil lawsuit became public knowledge and Chisholm quickly acquired 60 acres of land in the Terrebone Oil Fields with a deposit of several thousand dollars cash shortly thereafter. Chisholm’s involvement with Diamond was similar to that of his other entrepreneurial investments. His time with Diamond ended abruptly at the foot of speculation of illegal activity, yet his investments were protected and it seems as though he profited from his time in the movie business.
All of the films made by Diamond Film Company had plots that pertained to New Orleans and highlighted its unique culture and society and historical relevance. The company aimed to celebrate the city of New Orleans with its inhabitants by taking authentic shots of the city and sharing this uniqueness with national audiences.
These films, however, did not receive much acclaim and Diamond shuttered its doors in 1920 after just two years in operation.