New Orleans' Orpheum Theater May Not Reopen

Classic Arts News   New Orleans' Orpheum Theater May Not Reopen
The Orpheum Theater, one of New Orleans' primary performing-arts venues and the home of the Louisiana Philharmonic, was badly damaged in Hurricane Katrina and shows no signs of reopening, the Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, the hall's electrical and mechanical equipment, floor, and stage were damaged beyond repair by floodwaters. The owners, a group of private shareholders, did not have flood insurance.

Repairs are expected to cost up to $2.5 million.

General manager Jeff Montalbano told the AP that the owners are reluctantly considering selling the building. "This is such a hard thing," he said. "Selling could hurt the symphony, and we want to protect the integrity of what this facility is here for."

The LPO opens an abbreviated season next month at Tulane University. In the short term, the ensemble will also make use of performances spaces at Loyola University and the Pontchartrain Center, a convention center near Armstrong International Airport.

Robert Lyall, the director of New Orleans Opera, told the AP that the city's Mahalia Jackson Theatre and Municipal Auditorium should reopen this year. The Saenger Theatre is badly damaged but is currently being renovated.

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