New Orleans’ Orpheum Theatre, shuttered after Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the former vaudeville venue, has been sold to a Texas businessman.
Rick Weyand of Dallas paid $675,000 for the 85-year-old facility, which was home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Weyand didn’t offer specifics of what he has in mind for the 2,000-seat landmark building but said he’d like the orchestra to return.
“We are planning to restore the theatre,” Weyand said, “and we are planning to work closely with the LPO, hoping they will use the theatre a major portion of the time.”
The orchestra has since performed its concerts at Tulane and Loyola universities, Pontchartrain Center and local churches. Officials are willing to discuss Weyand’s plan.
“We would love to see the Orpheum as the home of the LPO again,” said Babs Mollere, the orchestra’s managing director. “And we would love to work with the new owner to bring the building back into commerce and create something good for us, good for him and good for the city.”
Flood water filled the Orpheum’s basement, wiping out all the electrical and mechanical equipment stored there. Water also rose a foot into the performance hall, warping the stage and the oak floors.
Earlier this year, GM Jeff Montalbano told Pollstar repairs could cost as much as $2.5 million
The Orpheum’s designation as a historic landmark guarantees its Beaux-Arts facade cannot be altered without approval from New Orleans’ Historic District Landmarks Commission.
Weyand said he’d reveal more of his plan in the coming weeks.