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When the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra took the stage on Sept. 17 at The Orpheum Theater in downtown New Orleans, it signified a new chapter in the city’s musical history. Not only did the occasion mark the orchestra’s 25th anniversary, but the event was also the official return of the symphony to the beaux arts-style venue that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago.
The 1,500-seat Orpheum dates back to 1918 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It’s one of the last remaining vertical hall designs in the U.S.
Tipitina’s Foundation purchased the building last year and began a $13 million renovation. The symphony plays in the elegant theater, along with other celebrity performers, and it’s available for weddings and special events, as well.
The Orpheum Theater’s comeback is only one of several upgrades happening in New Orleans these days. In the historic St. Roch neighborhood, downriver from the French Quarter, the St. Roch Market has been transformed from a dilapidated building to a vibrant hub for both visitors and locals, who can get a great meal from innovative food vendors, purchase meats and produce or enjoy a cocktail at The Mayhaw bar.
The National World War II Museum will unveil the second floor of the Freedom Pavilion this December. The Pavilion’s first floor opened in 2014 with “Road to Berlin,” the first of its Campaigns of Courage exhibit, and December’s opening will include the “Road to Tokyo.” Both of these exhibits were designed to give visitors a more personal view of the war and its impact on individual lives.