The Saenger Theatre Turns 90 Tomorrow

NEW ORLEANS – This week marks the 90th anniversary of Downtown New Orleans landmark the Saenger Theatre, which opened on Feb. 4, 1927.

         Considered “the South’s grandest theatre,” the Saenger Theatre was built by Julian Saenger in 1927 for the theretofore unheard of price of $2.5 million dollars. The theater, at the corner of Canal and Rampart streets, was designed by architect Emile Weil as an “atmospheric theater,” with a starry ceiling, marble columns and statues reminding patrons of a 15th century Italian courtyard.

         Advertisements of the day described it as “an acre of seats in a garden of Florentine splendor.” 

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         In 2005, the Saenger Theatre was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Within months of the storm, a groundswell of interest in the renovation and reopening of the theater began to grow, and, in December 2011, the agreements to restore the theater were finalized.

         The Saenger Theatre restoration was a National Rehabilitation Tax Credit project, whose scope of construction served to authentically restore this historic 1927 movie palace, and transform it into a first class state-of-the-art performing arts theater.

         The restored Saenger Theatre features beautifully refurbished lobbies and auditorium seating area with carpeting and lighting fixtures recreated from the originals. Expanded restrooms and concessions facilities ensure the greatest comfort for patrons, Saenger reps said.

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         The expanded theater stage house is equipped with state-of-the-art theatrical systems ensuring the theater is the most technically advanced theater in the South, Saenger reps said.

         The Saenger Theatre reopened its doors in September 2013.

         The $53 million project serves to anchor the revitalization of Canal Street and the New Orleans Central Business District and act as an economic generator attracting visitors from New Orleans and the Gulf South region to enjoy the very finest live entertainment available, Saenger reps said.

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         Today, the interior atmospheric design creates a magnificent 15th century Italian courtyard and gardens, with arched surroundings, columns and decorative moldings. The suspension of disbelief is completed by a blue domed “sky” ceiling complete with twinkling stars. Greek and Roman statuary line the walls and statues of Venus stand on pedestals along the upper rim of the auditorium.

         For more information


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