Star Performance

Marketing agency DEVENEY takes over historic Fine Arts Theater in Uptown


Lens Workspaces 04
DEVENEY worked with the architectural team at CICADA in the renovation and redesign of the early 1900s-era historic Fine Arts Theater at 1733 Constantinople St.

1733 Constantinople St. // // @deveneymktg

For years, the sizable and striking historic Fine Arts Theater at 1733 Constantinople St. sat vacant. It was designed in the early 1900s by prominent local architect Moise Goldstein — whose other notable projects include Temple Sinai and the Moisant Airport terminal, which became Louis Armstrong International Airport — in the Renaissance Revival style as part of a renovation of the former, less grand Pastime Theater, according to a 2022 report. Over the years, the building has also served as the Booker T., a theater for Black patrons, a church, multiuse arts center, banquet hall, storage for nearby Martin Wine Cellar and “it was rented by the art department for the TV movie ‘Kingfish,’ starring John Goodman as Huey P. Long,” according to the report.

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In 2020, the theater underwent a major restoration and was transformed into the headquarters of DEVENEY marketing agency, housed in the two-story theater portion of the building. It’s also home to two popular neighborhood tenants, Zee’s Pizzeria and Lucy Boone Ice Cream. Biz talked with DEVENEY president John Deveney and partners Carrie Pavlick and Melissa Lee to learn more about the company’s new space, its history and what’s next for the agency.  

What were your goals for the design?
Carrie Pavlick: To create a space where our team members could feel safe, comfortable and excited about coming back. We worked from home for a year during the COVID shutdown. We took what we learned about outfitting an office in a COVID world and incorporated those learnings into the office.

What was the biggest design challenge?
Pavlick: As [an] historic property, we took great care in winning the approval of preservationists and regulatory agencies. The façade has been lovingly restored — including every door and window opening, the balconies on each side of the building, and the box office.

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What is the standout feature of the design?
Pavlick: Its history as a theater location goes back at least to 1900, so it’s impossible to just pick out one standout feature. The monolithic projection booth retains its commanding view — now of the atrium that opens DEVENEY’s first floor to the vaulted ceilings above the second floor. As was tradition in the age of flammable nitrate film, they built the projection booth like a bunker, with inch-thick concrete walls intended to contain any fires to protect the audience and building. Having endured a century intact, the booth has been described as a tiny museum, with its antique projectors in place and reels for film littering the floor; elsewhere in the grand old building we found and will preserve what may be one of the first spotlights in New Orleans.

How do you set yourselves apart from others doing similar work?
John Deveney: Our people … Much of our team has earned the highest accreditations within the industry. Many have reached the very top leadership roles nationally and within the industry and profession, and elected to share their expertise through DEVENEY. It is uncommon for agency teams to be comprised predominately of senior practitioners. And our clients love it! … Our work with leaders such as Audubon Nature Institute and our new workspace reflect our priority of leaving the world better than we found it. Part of our culture and history is restoring deteriorated historic property — starting in the Garden District 28 years ago, then the Faubourg Marigny, then Magazine Street — and contributing to the economic strength of its neighborhood. DEVENEY is proud to contribute to the incredible renaissance of the Baronne Street Commercial District.

How do you promote a positive work atmosphere for the staff?
Lee: We trust our team to get the job done for our clients whenever they need us. We may work late nights, early mornings, weekends or holidays. By being flexible, we give our clients our best and help our team members balance their jobs with the rest of their lives. We offer hybrid in-office and remote work policies that support our collaborative team atmosphere. Our ‘culture club’ brings Team DEVENEY fun both in and out of the office — a celebratory meal to mark a big win, a stroll around the neighborhood for an ice cream treat, or organized team outings to enjoy time away from work and explore together … Whether cheering for a teammate performing on stage or marching in a parade, Team DEVENEY shows up for each other. When planning our new office space, we talked extensively about what would bring joy to our work. Plenty of natural light, a variety of rooms for meetings, and a beautiful historic building as home for our offices were on the group’s wish list. Little things matter in a workplace: favorite beverages, snacks and the ability to personalize our workspaces give everyone a feeling of ‘home.’ away from home’ and boosts morale. DEVENEY offices are decisively pet friendly, and we love having our furry family members nearby to dispense licks and cuddles during the day. By listening to and trusting each other, we build team strength, develop a workplace that fosters creativity and collaboration, and give us all a sense of pride in being part of Team DEVENEY.

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What are your biggest challenges?
Deveney: Change is difficult for everyone. And we have been through so much upheaval in every facet of living. Reinventing how we operate after nearly three decades in business was a challenge. We wanted to be considerate and responsive to what was best for our team members and enhance our ability to continue to deliver the results that have earned us recognition more than four times as one of the Top Five agencies in the country by authorities such as PRNews and PR Week. New approaches, like our generous remote work policy and financial incentives, demonstrate our priority on our employees, but the office space made it real. We modified the design and technology to enhance our inspiring workspaces with post-COVID sensibilities, including keyless and touchless entry, a single and separate path entrance and exit. Updates brought large amounts of accessible outdoor space; increased natural light; hard surfaces in the kitchen area for easy cleaning; and increased distance between workstations and offices. Most enjoyably, our pet-friendly headquarters includes our first Chief Barketing Officer. Check him out on Instagram: @griffinthegoldenirish.

What goals are you looking to meet in the next 12 months?
Deveney: In the year ahead, we focus on growth.

Quick Look

Years in Operation
Style of architecture
Renaissance Revival style
Square footage
Persons in Charge
John Deveney, president; Carrie Pavlick, partner; Melissa Lee, partner
CICADA, James Catalano, Partner; Matt Decotiis, Partner
Number of Employees


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