State Palace Theatre

1108 Canal Street,
New Orleans, LA 70112

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State Palace

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.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 79 comments)

Mikeoaklandpark on August 20, 2014 at 4:12 pm

The last time I was in NO was 2003 and the theater was open Labor Day weekend showing movies. I do remember they showed The Godfather, Cabaret and Lady Sings The Blues that weekend. Prior to that it was a club so I am not sure what they used for a screen

Orleans1788 on October 20, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Remember the Lowes still showed grindhouse/exploitation films in the late 1980s. I went to see Robocop in 1987 and the previews before the film had topless girls running around, in some slasher film. I used to go to the Lowes in the 80s and 90s, they had hamburgers and double features. I stopped going when it started showing adult movies. Does anyone remember when that change was made must have been early 90s?

Chris1982 on October 21, 2014 at 2:11 am

Loew’s was the theatre chain, Lowes is the home improvement chain.

Orleans1788 on October 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Loew’s state, it was a typo.

Cajundweeb on December 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm

This building has been sold and, from what I hear, is going to be reopened as a theatre sort of like the Saenger across the street. NO MORE RAVES.

frank gagliano
frank gagliano on June 18, 2015 at 5:51 am

The sale to Gregor Fox dooms this theater to sit for years in its current state of damage and deterioration. Mr. Fox stated in a local news article that he plans to first renovate the commercial retail space within the building to then fund the renovation of the theater; a process that may take up to ten years. Personally, I do not believe him. I think his intention is to use the leases from the retail spaces on Canal to pay the annual taxes until he can flip the property to legitimate developers years from now at a tremendous profit. Mr. Fox has little experience in real estate development, nor does he have the resources, or experience, to renovate a 1920s movie palace to its former glory. He purchased the theater and the property it sits on for just $3 million. Mr. Fox believes that the theater can be fully renovated for $10 million, this when the renovation of the Saenger Theater located across from the Loew’s was recently performed at a cost exceeding $50 million. I hope I’m mistaken, but there is no evidence that the Loew’s is coming back anytime soon. Every indication is that it will remain a blight on Canal Street for years to come.

Here is a link verifying the information I have provided…

DavidZornig on October 6, 2015 at 8:56 pm

1951 night shot added courtesy of Carl Schreiber.
Loew’s neon center right.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

The Loew’s State (State Palace) is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

Khnemu on November 10, 2018 at 11:22 am

New (as of July 2018) plan calls for building a new hotel on top of the theater and saving the historic theater as part of the hotel complex.

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