129 University Place,
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Orpheum Theatre, New Orleans (Official)
Previously operated by: Orpheum Circuit, RKO
Architects: G. Albert Lansburgh
Functions: Concerts, Live Theater
Previous Names: RKO Orpheum Theatre
News About This Theater
- Jul 21, 2009 — Update on status of New Orleans theaters
The original Orpheum Theatre was located at 432 St. Charles Avenue and was opened prior to 1914. This ‘new’ Orpheum Theatre opened in 1918 as a vaudeville theatre. It was known as the RKO Orpheum Theatre, and became a movie theatre for a while. It was scheduled to be demolished in 1969.
However, it was purchsed by the New Orleans Symphony and was restored. After the New Orleans Symphony folded, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the nation’s largest musician-owned professional symphony orchestra took over, and made the theatre its home. The acoustics and lines were ideal. Concerts and other artistic performances and speeches took place in the building. The Orpheum Theatre was added to the Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters inundated the theatre basement, which housed electrical systems, and part of the orchestra level. In 2011, it was undergoing renovations, which continued in 2014. It reopened in August 2015 and is now home to the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra.
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Recent comments (view all 58 comments)
An excellent 1928 photo of the New Orleans Orpheum appears on the Historic-Memphis.com website theatre page. Here’s a link to the page.
The Orpheum was recently sold and is now scheduled to enjoy a $16 million restoration correcting he longstanding damages resulting from hurricane Katrina.
Good news for New Orleans theater lovers, all of the remaining downtown theaters have been restored, or, are in the process of restoration to their original beauty. Loews, Civic, Joy, Saenger, and the Orpheum all live again.
Yes, Frank. The Theatre was recently sold to the owners of Tipitina’s. As you say, it’s to be remolded and will hopefully be the home of the La Philharmonic Symphony, again.
New article about the Orpheum renovations, including a slide show of 2014 interior pictures:
The renovation is already underway – from the photos in the link above, they are already working on the walls, seats and carpet are removed, everything’s well underway. The article describes the work as a $13,000,000 renovation which is expected to take about a year to complete. The new owner is Tiptina’s owner Roland von Kurnakowski who purchased it in February 2014. When it reopens, the Orpheum will not only host the Philharmonic Symphony, but will also have other concerts, movie showings and special events. The formerly unused basement will also be renovated and put to use.
Latest on their website: Opening planned for Fall 2015.
Yes. The Orpheum is now open. Thanks to the folks at Tipitina’s
In the fall of 2015, they installed a brand new Barco DCP projection and server system in addition to a brand new ‘scope screen and surround sound. Good work overall.
Glad to know this theatre is restored and will continue to bring much enjoyment for many more years.