Orpheum Theatre

129 University Place,
New Orleans, LA 70112

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Orpheum Theatre, New Orleans LA in 1926

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The 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.

Contributed by Joe Drefahl, James P. Kovata

Recent comments (view all 58 comments)

gill
gill on March 2, 2013 at 8:46 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.

frank gagliano
frank gagliano on February 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

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.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on February 10, 2014 at 5:05 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.

spectrum
spectrum on August 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

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

http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2014/07/orpheum_theater_renovation.html

spectrum
spectrum on August 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

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
spectrum on April 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Latest on their website: Opening planned for Fall 2015.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on September 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

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

Salobonavia
Salobonavia on January 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm

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.

ERD
ERD on January 29, 2016 at 7:42 am

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

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