Orpheum Theater (New Orleans)

Orpheum Theatre

Orpheum Theater in 2007
Location 125–129 University Pl., New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates 29°57′16″N 90°4′21″W / 29.95444°N 90.07250°W / 29.95444; -90.07250Coordinates: 29°57′16″N 90°4′21″W / 29.95444°N 90.07250°W / 29.95444; -90.07250
Area 0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
Built 1918
Architect G. Albert Lansburgh
Architectural style Beaux Arts
NRHP Reference # 82002787[1]
Added to NRHP August 11, 1982

The Orpheum Theater is a theater in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Also known as the RKO Orpheum, it was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh,[2] built in 1918, and opened for vaudeville in 1921. The Beaux Arts style building has 1,500 seats. Soon after opening it became a movie house. In 1983, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition but was acquired by the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and underwent a $3 million renovation. It served as the orchestra's home theater until the orchestra's financial demise in 1991. Under new ownership, the Orpheum became the home of the newly formed Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), whose musicians prized the auditorium for its acoustical purity.[3] The theater is an example of "vertical hall" construction, initially built to provide perfect sight lines and acoustics for vaudeville shows which didn't have the benefit of amplifiers or modern lighting.[4]

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the Orpheum Theater was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina floodwaters[5][6] and was sold to a Dallas businessman.[3] It was then sold to Axiom Global Properties in 2011 (formerly Orpheum Properties, Inc.).[7] Neither of these owners succeeded in restoring the theater to commerce. The theater was purchased in February 2014 by Dr. Eric George. Dr. George partnered with builder Roland Von Kurnatowski, owner of Tipitina's, and completed a $13 million renovation.[8]

The theater reopened in August 2015. The first event was held on September 17, 2015 with a performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). The LPO will be the anchor tenant for the theatre.[9]

See also


  1. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. "Orpheum Theatre". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  3. 1 2 New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 7, 2006, p. 1
  4. "New Orleans - Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  5. Gambit Weekly : Cover Story : July 4, 2006
  6. "New Orleans, Louisiana Local News NOLA.com". Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  7. Orpheum Theater - History
  8. "local physician to buy, reopen Orpheum Theater". The Gambit. January 18, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  9. "LPO sets 2015-16 season opener at restored Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, Sept. 17". nola.com/Times-Picayune. February 2, 2015. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
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