NEW ORLEANS WILL Know Business with Show Business at Three Local Theaters

In just a few short years, three once-vacant theaters have seen gorgeous renovations, grand re-openings, and consistently full houses. The Joy Theater, the Saenger Theatre, and the Civic Theatre – all located in the Central Business District – draw in national comedians and musicians, seasonal events, and classic Broadway performances.


Restored to its Jazz Era glory, the Saenger now hosts a variety of live events. (Photo courtesy Paul Broussard on Flickr)

Historic tax credits have been a major catalyst for these incredible renovations. Learn more about the history of each theater below.

The Joy Theater

At the time of its launch in 1947, the Joy Theater was the newest, most modern theater in the Central Business District. The theater featured a neon marquee and art deco architecture that beckoned guests to come in and enjoy a movie or live performance. The theater remained in working order until 2003, when it shuttered its doors due to economic reasons. In 2011, visionaries resurrected the Joy to its original specs, taking care to restore period-specific details and the overall look and feel of the theater.

The Saenger Theatre

Built in 1927, the Saenger was a spectacle of Jazz Era architecture and interiors. Over the years, the theatre lost its luster and suffered severe damage during Hurricane Katrina. After a $53 million effort to redevelop and refinish the theatre, the Saenger re-emerged as an authentic vision of its original design. Details like an expanded theatre stage house means the Saenger can accommodate a variety of live events – check out their calendar here.

The Civic Theatre

The Civic Theatre, built in 1906, is the oldest in the city and features intricate plasterwork along the stage and balconies alongside Art Nouveau motifs. After decades of use, the theater closed in the 1990s. Fast-forward to 2013 when, after millions of dollars in technical upgrades (LED lights and movable modular flooring, for example), the Civic reopened to not only its former glory, but also newfound fame.

What’s Next

These three theaters each offer world-class live entertainment for visitors to our city. As locals, we can experience live events (in gorgeous venues) as a result of these multi-million dollar renovations. We also can look forward to one more addition to the burgeoning theater district: the Orpheum Theater, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, is in the midst of a renovation slated to finish in summer of 2015.