“Whining saws and clanging hammers fill the huge auditorium at the Orpheum theater. The $15 million restoration is halfway complete,” writes Bill Capo on Friday (1/30) at WWLTV (New Orleans). “ ‘It is very exciting to come to work every day, and when I walk in here, I am always amazed at what people were able to do before they were limited by computers,’ said owner and Decorative Artist Mary Von Kurnatowski. The 97-year old hall was used for vaudeville, then movies, and became the home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. ‘The audience that knows that we’re moving back in, the orchestra members, and the Board of Trustees, the leadership are all enormously excited about coming back home,’ said Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s Dr. Ranney Mize. ‘The acoustics are unparalleled in this region, and the space itself is so beautiful and ornate, there is really nothing like it,’ said Orpheum General Manager Kristin Shannon. The owners are preserving the building’s ornate interior, painting and cleaning…. But they are also adding modern amenities to the 3,500-seat auditorium, where the first floor can be tilted for theater seating, or leveled for dances and receptions…. The orchestra will stage the first performance here after it opens August 27, ten years after it closed for hurricane Katrina.”

Posted February 2, 2015