For years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the iconic and revered arts center, the Saenger Theater remained untouched until it finally was restored and reopened on September 27th, 2013. As a ray of hope throughout the renovations, the marquee was ceremoniously lit in 2009, announcing the theater’s return in the next few years.
The Saenger Theater originally opened at its 1111 Canal St location on February 4, 1927, a 4,000-seat theater with a top ticket price of 65 cents. Performances included a silent movie and stage play and music from the Saenger Grand Orchestra. The theater was run successfully for all those years, even throughout the Great Depression, and it was eventually designated a historic landmark by the New Orleans Landmark Commission and the National Register of Historic Places.
Renovations took place in the late 1970s and would remain in that setup until Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when it suffered extensive water damage and shut down completely without calls for repairs for several years.
Renovations following Hurricane Katrina aimed to restore many of the theater’s original characteristics, such as using historic photographs to match hardware like doors and light fixtures and stripping paint to reveal the theater’s original color. At the same time, they enlarged the stage by 40% and upgraded the theater with modern amenities, including installing central air conditioning and using the building next door to house a restaurant, restrooms and box offices.
Since reopening, the Saenger Theater has again resumed its resounding success and presents a full, superb calendar enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. This has included musicals and stage plays, concerts, comedy shows and more. Ticket prices vary from show to show, though you can expect to spend more here than at most other venues in the city due to the setting and quality of performances.
No matter who you intend to see, you’ll have a wonderful time enjoying the show while taking in all of the historic glory and ambience that The Saenger Theater has to offer.