The Big Easy's Big News: Bryan Batt Among Boosters Behind Reopening of Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans

By Peter Filichia
16 Feb 2013

Bryan Batt
Bryan Batt

Learn how Broadway and TV actor Bryan Batt, a New Orleans native, was among those who helped turn around the fortunes of the New Orleans community theatre Le Petit Theatre due Vieux Carre.


It's second down, but goal to go for Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre.

Had all gone as planned, the New Orleans landmark at Jackson Square would have re-opened the weekend of Feb. 1. Says board member and noted actor Bryan Batt, "We would have started with Lombardi, about the famous Green Bay Packers coach. The football theme would have tied in nicely with the Super Bowl that was played here on Sunday.

Alas, construction always seems to take longer than promised. So Le Petit Theatre will have to wait a little longer to start its season — its first since the theatre abruptly closed in December 2010.

Says Batt, "That we're coming back at all is something that a lot of people didn't think would happen."

When Le Petit shuttered in the midst of its 2010-2011 season, it had a $700K balloon note in special assets and nearly $300K in vendor debt.

"The bankers were patient and very nice," concedes Batt. "Still, considering the economic crisis, they rightfully wanted their money and told us that foreclosure was looming."

This made the real estate moguls in town smile broadly. If the theatre defaulted, one of them could swoop in and acquire the two-building complex on Jackson Square. Says Batt, "Real estate at the corner of Chartres and St. Peter Streets is prime property. A foreclosure could get someone a $6 million property for less than a million."

So the theatre that was founded in 1916 didn't look primed to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Considering that it had been in this location since 1922, it took pride in being one of the few amateur community-based theatres that's operated at the same location for so many decades.


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