NOLA Theatres Threatened

The status of two of New Orleans’ most historic performing arts theatres – the Orpheum Theatre and the Saenger Theatre – is still up in the air more than six months after Hurricane Katrina.

Renovations have been under way at the Saenger, but the future of the 85-year-old Orpheum, which has served as home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, is uncertain at best.

Flood water filled the theatre’s 20-foot basement, wiping out all the electrical and mechanical equipment stored there, and water rose a foot into the performance hall. The Orpheum’s oak floors and stage warped and will have to be replaced.

With no flood insurance, GM Jeff Montalbano said owners are unsure how to cover the $1.5 million to $2.5 million needed to repair the building.