Mahalia Jackson Theater Reopens

After being shuttered since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the venue in August 2005, Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts is set to reopen with a free concert Jan. 8.

The 2,317-capacity venue has been spiffed up with a $22 million renovation after suffering basement flooding that damaged equipment like orchestra lifts.

Improvements to the theatre include a removable floor for dance performances, state-of-the-art sound system and new orchestra shell. Mayor Ray Nagin said the venue’s reopening, which was a city rebuilding priority, will show that New Orleans’ culture is back.

Mahalia Jackson Theater’s reopening schedule also includes performances by Irvin Mayfield and Yolanda Adams, violinist Itzhak Perlman and the San Francisco Ballet and tenor Placido Domingo.

Photo: AP Photo
Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni sing Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello Act I duet "Gia Nella Notte Densa" in Tokyo . The tenor and soprano also performed in Osaka during a special visit to Japan.

Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium was another NOLA venue that sustained water damage to its basement because of Hurricane Katrina.