Saenger Theatre

143 N. Rampart Street,
New Orleans, LA 70112

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Showing 101 - 125 of 131 comments

Bway on September 11, 2005 at 4:16 am

Granted though, I don’t think they always have been, but I think I noticed it back around June sometime that it is now on Pacific Time.

Patsy on September 11, 2005 at 3:52 am

OK, Thanks for that Sunday a.m. clarification!

Bway on September 11, 2005 at 3:28 am

The times are on Pacific time.

Patsy on September 11, 2005 at 2:49 am

A sidenote……I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but the times printed along with our names and dates are not correct as my above post was not posted at 5:47am, but rather at 8:46am.

Patsy on September 11, 2005 at 2:47 am

It’s good to see several CT posts in regards to theatres in N.O. and surrounding areas as the folks and devastation of that region are in our thoughts along with their historical theatres. “The Saenger in New Orleans was the flagship of several Saenger theaters throughout the South.”

JimRankin on September 10, 2005 at 4:34 am

“Lifes-too-short” is feeling the human suffering deeply, and I know that all of us sympathize with him as well as the millions that have, and are, also suffering along the entire area ravaged by the hurricane, but I think that for the moment, his emotions have blinded his logic. Yes, if the loss of a theatre or all the theatres there could somehow bring back even one of the dead and missing, that would be acceptable to me and most everyone here. People are vastly more important than buildings, as even any idiot would realize. But, as others have brought out so well here, this IS a site to discuss theatres, and so after we have each done what was withing our power to help the evacuees, it is indeed appropriate to discuss their theatres, for the theatres are what we dearly hope will become again part of their futures, not to mention ours.

If “Lost…” has shed a tear or two for the loss of life and property, then perhaps he can imagine that we others have too, but choose to do so silently; I hope he will respect our feelings in so doing. Now, let’s get back to being as optomistic as we can be about theatres and their futures, for in many cases they are the futures for evacuees who will return and rebuild, as was said here with all hope and respect by wiser people than me.

Ian on September 10, 2005 at 3:11 am

From the BBC news report 10/Sept/05 :-
“Now the hope is that the French Quarter’s lure of history, food and music can become a catalyst for regeneration. Plans are being drawn up to retain historic areas of the city while rebuilding residential areas on higher ground and regenerating old wetlands to reduce the risk of future flooding. High quality transport links and projects to improve the quality of life and reduce poverty in New Orleans are high on most agendas. Bringing business and tourism back to the region is equally important.”

Clearly the BBC and the Authorities in NO are having “jollies” too!!!

Bway on September 9, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Rebuilding the city has to start somewhere. And as Ian said, without the historic parts of New Orleans, there’s not too much left to rebuild in this city. Aside from the shipping and port activities, tourism IS New Orleans' biggest economy. Without tourists, New Orleans will continue to be the ghost town it is now after this tragedy. The tourist activity IS what gives many of these people that lost their homes jobs. Without the potential for future tourists, they might as well stay away, and they may as well fill in the entire city with the debris, and call it a lost city.

This is not to minimize what has happened there, and the human toll is by and large the most important aspect of it., However, mIt is quite relevant to talk about the future of the city after this nightmare, as it affects just about every resident that plans to come back again. Without tourism, many of their jobs are lost, and tourists are attracted by the history – it’s old buildings, and everything that makes New Orleans a great city – and the theaters are a part of that.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 9, 2005 at 3:47 pm

It is not pretentious nonsense. You guys look really out of touch with reality by having this sort of discussion. I’m sorry if you can’t see that.

But I don’t intend to start on a full on war of words here. I’ve stated my viewpoint…

…and I would sign that permit. Who cares about an old building when the city has been destroyed. You want to minimize the situation by talking like everything is getting back to normal? I would hardly say things are getting back to normal.

Go back to your discussion, if it gives you jollies: how many manuals does that organ have? Who might rebuild the console?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 9, 2005 at 1:08 pm

See this page for a flood report on some New Orleans theatres (though not much about the Saenger).

Ian on September 9, 2005 at 12:50 pm

I would sign a demolition permit for this building if it meant all those people could get their homes and lives back

What a load of pretentious nonsense! Yes, of course the human suffering is a tragedy. But the demolition of the Saenger would help no-one. The exact opposite in fact. Without the Casinos, restaurants, theatres, and old-French quarter the city would not attract the tourists who provide employment for the citizens of the city. In order to help restore their lives what remains of the history and culture of the place must be brought back – at the same time as the homes. NOW is exactly the time to start talking about restoration and that IS showing respect.

Bway on September 9, 2005 at 11:43 am

At this point, the news says most of the people that want to leave New Orleans have. At that point, the cleanup and rebuilding will begin. What has happened is a total tragedy, however, I don’t see how talking about the future of the city (which the theaters are a part of) is inappropriate at this point. It may have been a week ago, but at this point, cleanup has already begun in downtown, I have seen video footage of it. MSNBC says that they expect to have much debris in the dry areas of the French Quearter and Downtown part of the city cleaned up in less than 7 days. They have already begun.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 9, 2005 at 10:49 am

Listen fellas. I realize that I run the risk of looking like a trouble-maker. But, much as we all care about preservation, it is not appropriate to be talking about organ consoles in the face of such unbelievable human suffering.

Everyone knows in their heart of hearts that the theatres of New Orleans have been badly damaged, and that is a shame. I hope they can be repaired. But we aren’t going to have any real info until people are allowed back into the city on a large-scale basis. Until then, show some respect. Let’s leave it at that.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 9, 2005 at 8:56 am

The current issue of Newsweek, September 12, 2005, has a large photo on pages 42 & 43 of a flooded Canal Street. On the left can be seen the marquee of the Saenger Theatre. On the right is Loew’s State. Vehicles and people can be seen in about two feet of water or more.

joyfulness on September 8, 2005 at 2:10 pm

I have been commenting, here at, on the Joy Theater at 1200 Canal St. [ /theaters/6327/ ] I fear that if the Saenger is under water, then also, the Joy Theater would partially be submerged as well.

JimRankin on September 8, 2005 at 11:21 am

Here is news out of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which I guess we had expect (via the free NewsFlash bulletin of the THSA (
“Message: 1
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 21:43:29 EDT
Subject: Saenger Thr/Update 9/6/05

Many thanks to RICHARD SKLENAR for sharing this email with NEWSFLASH.
is a longtime THS member.

In a message dated 9/6/2005 12:58:10 PM Central Standard Time,

I just found out that the Saenger in New Orleans lost the organ
console, it
is under water, and part of the roof and they were just about to
complete a
$2,500,000 restoration before their fall season, which has been
canceled at
this time.

I will let you know more as I learn more..

Cecil Whitmire
Executive Director
Alabama Theatre for the Performing Arts
Website "

JimRankin on September 5, 2005 at 2:55 pm

Will is probably quite right; most palaces had their stage levels below the sidewalk level in order to cause the sloping or raked floor down from the sidewalk/lobby level toward the stage for the sake of sight lines. However, there could have been a miracle, of course, so let us retain hope to the last.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on September 5, 2005 at 2:16 pm

If memory serves, the Saenger’s stage is below sidewalk level. Sad to think that even with the console fully raised, it might still be completely submerged.

hjackson on September 3, 2005 at 6:17 pm

If my memory serves me correctly, New Orleans flooded in the early 30’s and someone had the forsight to bring the organ console up to stage level and kept it out of the water. Hopefully it was brought up again.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 3, 2005 at 2:04 pm

True: but I would like to echo the sentiment you began with. As much as we may be interested in preservation, the human factor is what really matters in this disaster. I would sign a demolition permit for this building if it meant all those people could get their homes and lives back.

JimRankin on September 3, 2005 at 7:18 am

While everyone here has primary concern for the people now destitute in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many have also been wondering about those memorable theatres down south, and perhaps the message from Theatre Historical Society member Bill Hooper, copied here from their NewsFlash bulletin, will shed some light, depressing though his accurate observations are:

THSA NewsFlash #242 (
“Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 11:17:47 -0400
Subject: Hurricane Damage Thoughts

Some thoughts from member BILL HOOPER:

The Saenger is a great theatre in New Orleans, but also very affected are the very active venues the 1926 Thomas Lamb’s State Palace (formerly Loew’s) on Canal Street across the street from the Saenger, & Lansburgh’s 1921 Orpheum ½ block away on University Place.

I don’t have an interior photo of the Orpheum here, but there are some of the State Palace at:

The condition of the New Orleans theatres is very worrisome in that
photos have shown Canal Street has at some point flooded to a depth of at least 3 or 4 feet. With the power out, the sump pumps couldn’t get the water out, & anyway the water would have no place to go as it’s pumped into the municipal drains which would be overrun at that point. At 4 feet above Canal Street, all the mechanical rooms (AC, boilers, electrical service entry, breaker panels, etc.) will have been underwater for a while & damaged. Wiring conduit will have been completely filled with water, further deteriorating any cotton-covered wiring which may still remain, corroding splices in junction boxes, etc. The auditoriums
are excavated sloping floors, so everything in the auditoriums on the
floor & sides will have been underwater: bottom of the prosc & side
walls, seats, carpets, etc., not just partway through the house but all the way back.

Compounding this is likely roof damage. There’s been little rain since the hurricane, but there will be, & theatre interior survival after hurricanes on the gulf coast has been completely dependent on very quick repair of the roof after the storm. Otherwise, the plaster interiors quickly disintegrate, dropping chunks of the ceiling, peeling off the walls, etc. Roof damage & entry of water there are the biggest threats to the theater. Unfortunately, with New Orleans undergoing a lockdown possibly for months for municipal emergency & cleanup services before contractors, etc. for individual buildings being allowed into the city, there will be many storms & much rain entering any damaged roofs & destroying the plaster interiors. Longer term, even after the roof is repaired, the water which entered rusts the metal lath behind the plaster & causes intermittent detachment of chunks of the interior. This damage
is not confined to only the auditorium, of course.

The New Orleans State Palace, Saenger, & Orpheum are very much
endangered. Besides New Orleans, there are a number of historic MS theatres in heavily-hit areas that can’t be easily accessed for assessment: the Saenger in Biloxi, the A&G in Bay St. Louis, & northward into the state. For example, Meridian, MS was heavily hit, but a MS ATOS member reports that the Temple Theatre in MS is fortunately not damaged."

I am sure that everyone hopes that somehow these treasures will survive mostly intact.

theatreorganmana on September 2, 2005 at 12:19 pm

Let us all hope that someone had the presence of mind to take the Robert Morton organ console to the up position on the lift prior to Katrina!

theatreorganmana on September 2, 2005 at 12:07 pm

Mr. Will Dunkin’s comment regarding the theatre organist who opened the Saenger (Rosa Rio) is incorrect. The opening artist was John Hammond, who was Rosa’s husband. Mr. Hammond taught organ at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and was brought to New Orleans to open the Robert Morton at the Saenger. Rosa Rio, who is a national treasure, did later play at the theatre.

John McCall

JimRankin on June 10, 2005 at 9:33 am

Recent color photos of this theatre can be found on the site: “America’s Stunning Theatres” by photographer and stagehand Noah Kern at: Comments and information may be left there without registration; such can be public view or only to Mr. Kern. Scroll down the page to find the name, and then click on the sample image above it to be taken to the page of photos of it.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 17, 2005 at 4:05 am

Here is a photo I took of the Saenger in 2001.