Plans to restore the Saenger Theater
NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Saenger Theater was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina in 2005 and has remained shuttered since then with only enough work to keep it stable.
Plans to return the theatre to its original 1927 state have been announced by city officials with a hoped for opening date of 2011. As part of its agreement with the Canal Street Development Corp., the Saenger Theatre Parntership group will oversee efforts to renovate the theater. David Anderson, one of the partners said the restoration will keep an eye toward the theater’s original decor, “including gold-leaf accents, life-size statues and lavish chandeliers. Most of that has been lost because of the storm damage. There is a huge amount of time and money that is going to into the authentic restoration of the interior.”
An article on the restoration can be found at nola.com.
If they do go ahead with this project, I really hope that the Morton organ can be restored as well. I was told that even before Katrina, it wasn’t in the best of shape.
It’s heartening to read about a movie theatre’s being renovated and restored. It’s far cheaper than tearing it down and building an expensive promenade or whatever in its place. Not to get too, too political here, but here’s hoping that people’s homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, etc. also get restored and renovated.
At least before the flood, the organ was playable, even if it was not “perfect.”. With the flood, the console was soaked in “water” up to the manuals, and the blower sat in the muck for days and days.
The pipes and chests were relatively untouched. Let’s hope the organ has not been vandalized in the meantime.
My family and I vacationed in N.O. 3 weeks before Katrina hit and saw Little Shop of Horrors from the front and center of the Saenger balcony. These must be the best seats in the house because you can see the cityscape mockup along the walls and the ‘sky’ on the ceiling so well. It felt like we were on a rooftop in the french quarter looking down on a street scene. I wish modern theatres had such ambience. It was my favorite thing in the city.