Orpheum Theatre

129 University Place,
New Orleans, LA 70112

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Showing 1 - 25 of 58 comments

ERD on January 29, 2016 at 10:42 am

Glad to know this theatre is restored and will continue to bring much enjoyment for many more years.

Salobonavia on January 29, 2016 at 2:29 am

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.

WTKFLHN on September 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Yes. The Orpheum is now open. Thanks to the folks at Tipitina’s

spectrum on April 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Latest on their website: Opening planned for Fall 2015.

spectrum on August 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm

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.

spectrum on August 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

New article about the Orpheum renovations, including a slide show of 2014 interior pictures:


WTKFLHN on February 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm

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.

frank gagliano
frank gagliano on February 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

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.

gill on March 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

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.

spectrum on March 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

According to this article (http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2011/03/post_35.html), renovations of the Orpheum started on 2/14/11.

Over the next 12-14 months they plan to repair the roof, stage, electrical, seating and everything else.

They are continuing to secure financing while the work progresses.

The previous owners (mentioned in above posts to 2009) sold the orpheum to a new owner in 2010.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I don’t know when “seg” ended in N.O. but I recall being there in August 1964 for a day or two while traveling. In the New Orleans Union Terminal waiting room, one could see where the letters spelling out “Whites Only” and “Colored Only” had been removed from the walls. So that big rail station had been desegregated by then, and maybe the Orpheum Theatre as well.

meflaherty on October 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The original article here discusses that the upper balcony was for blacks, but in the early 60’s I definately remember sitting anywhere in the theatre. You could easily walk to any level and I don’t have any recollection of certain seating areas for blacks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 3, 2010 at 7:30 am

A 1921 issue of the architectural journal Pencil Points ran this ad for The Northwestern Terra Cotta Company, which featured a photo of the Orpheum with its original entrance configuration and marquee.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 6:11 am

Stagecoach in front of the Orpheum, from Boxoffice magazine, August 1, 1966:
View link

ArthurHardy on June 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Announcing a book about New Orleans Movie Theaters

The History of the Neighborhood Theaters in New Orleans
is being written by 89-year-old Rene Brunet, the dean of the motion picture industry in Louisiana, and New Orleans historian and preservationist Jack Stewart. The 160-page,coffee table book will be released in November and is being published by Arthur Hardy Enterprises, Inc. Attention will be focused on 50 major neighborhood and downtown theaters, culled from a list of nearly 250 that have dotted the cityâ€\s landscape since the first “nickelodeon” opened in 1896 at 626 Canal Street. The book will be divided by neighborhoods and will open with a map and a narrative about each area. Each major theater will feature “then and now” photographs, historic information, and a short series of quotes from famous New Orleanians and from regular citizens who will share their recollections.
We are trying to acquire memorabilia and additional photos of this theater for this publication. (deadline July 1.) You will be credited in the book and receive a free autographed copy if we publish the picture that you supply. Please contact Arthur Hardy at or call 504-913-1563 if you can help.

TLSLOEWS on March 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Nice looking theatre.

CSWalczak on January 21, 2010 at 4:51 am

This article from July, 2009 indicates that not only has the proposed renovation gone nowhere, but further deterioration has occurred and that the Texas owners owe the city back taxes:
View link

meflaherty on September 3, 2009 at 2:19 pm

To me, it’s the RKO Orpheum. Saw many horror movies there in the late 50’s and early 60’s, including Vincent Price’s “The Tingler”.

Would get my haircut in the basement of the Roosevelt Hotel across the street, then go to the movies.

Now home to the symphony.

chrissullivan on July 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Any updates on this renovation, sale or otherwise?

Bway on May 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

That is great news.

spectrum on January 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

According to this article:

View link

the owners of the Orpheum have started to renovate the theatre and are hoping to have it reopened by the end of the year. (The Saenger is renovation is also moving forward and the owners of the State Palace and Joy are still deciding whether to renovate, sell or demolish.)

jazzland on June 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

This is a link to the a photo of the interior of the Orpheum Theatre.

View link

This web site has several interor and exterior views of the Orpheum & Saenger Theatre.

jazzland on July 7, 2006 at 6:06 am

Here is the latest news on the Orpheum Theatre

The Orpheum Theater, onetime vaudeville house, longtime movie palace and recently home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, has been sold to Dallas businessman Rick Weyand for $675,000.

Located at 129 University Place, across from the Fairmont Hotel and a block off Canal Street, the Orpheum is a jewel-box of a building with an ornate Beaux-Arts façade, celebrated for its elegant terra-cotta panels representing drama, music and dance.

Although Weyand declined to discuss any specific plans for the building, he said he hopes to bring back the LPO as a tenant.


“We are planning to restore the theater,” he said, “and we are planning to work closely with the LPO, hoping they will use the theater a major portion of its open time.”

Weyand said he will reveal his plans in more detail in about a month.

The Orpheum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also is designated a New Orleans landmark by the Historic District Landmarks Commission, was grievously damaged in the flood following Hurricane Katrina. Water filled the basement, drowning many of the orchestra’s instruments and all of its equipment, then coursed through the first floor, covering all the chairs and rising as high as the stage.

Built in 1918 for half a million dollars, the 2,000-seat Orpheum was designed by renowned American theater architect G. Albert Lansburgh in conjunction with local architect Samuel Stone. It opened in 1921 and hosted such vaudeville greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fatty Arbuckle, Houdini, Jack Benny and the Marx Brothers.

In the 1930s, with vaudeville waning, the Orpheum became a movie theater, decorated in the grandiose fashion of the day. In 1979, it was scheduled for demolition but was rescued from oblivion and treated to a $3 million renovation. It reopened in 1989 as home to the LPO, whose musicians prize the auditorium for its acoustical purity.

“We would love to see the Orpheum as the home of the LPO again,” said Babs Mollere, the orchestra’s managing director. “And we would love to work with the new owner to bring the building back into commerce and create something good for us, good for him and good for the city.”

The theater, which had been on the market for years, was sold to Weyand by a consortium of local residents with an interest in supporting classical music in New Orleans. The building’s historic status guarantees that its façade cannot be altered without approval of the HDLC.

… … .

Staff writer Elizabeth Mullener can be reached at or (504) 826-3393.