State Palace Theatre
1108 Canal Street,
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Built in 1926 for the Loew’s circuit, the State Theatre was designed by the prodigious theatre architect, Thomas W. Lamb. Around the same time that Loew’s opened the State Theatre on April 3, 1926 with Norma Shearer in “The Devil’s Circus”, the Saenger circuit opened their theatre directly across Canal Street.
Originally seating 3,335, and designed in a mix of Renaissance motifs, the State Theatre also contained a 3/13 Robert Morton organ similar to that installed at the same time in the Saenger Theatre. Unfortunately, unlike the Saenger Theatre’s organ, the State Theatre’s did not survive, being used only until 1932 and later heavily damaged during a flood and left to fall into disrepair in the ensuing decades.
On March 5 1976, the State Theatre was tripled, with two screens on the main floor and the balcony becoming the third screen. Reopening movies were “Emmanuelle – The Joys of a Woman”, Fred Williamson in “Mean Johnny Barrows” and Ron Van Clief in “The Black Dragon’s Revenge”. After closing as a movie house in the late-1980’s, the sub-division partitions were removed, and the State Theatre was restored and renamed, as the State Palace Theatre, screening classic movies and offering concerts. The theatre was closed due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, and was later reopened.
The State Palace Theatre became primarily used a a concert venue, featuring mostly techno and electronica bands, with the occasional rave. Big-name rock and punk bands often made appearances, and the State Palace Theatre also hosted local talent nights as well.
Though it is somewhat rough along the edges, the State Palace Theatre still has a definite faded elegance that adds to its atmosphere, as well as excellent accoustics, making it one of New Orleans' enduring entertainment destinations.
Sadly, the State Palace Theatre has been closed since February 15, 2007 due to fire code violations. In April 2018 the owners of the building filed plans to demolish it and build a hotel on the site. Those plans have been dropped.
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