The Saenger Theater in New Orleans opened in
1927 as a much-acclaimed movie palace and vaudeville theater. Today, it is
still noted among theater and architectural historians nationally as a scarce,
surviving example of Atmospheric Theater Design from that era. The theater was severely damaged in the flood
following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and remained closed, as a result, for
several years. Finally, in 2010, through
a partnership between the City of New Orleans and a private development firm,
Broadmoor was selected to handle the extensive restoration of this important
The historic theater consists of an auditorium
seating approximately 2,800 patrons in a replicated Venetian Renaissance
Piazza, with ornately decorated lobbies, entrance arcades, and basement support
spaces attached. To meet the demands of
today's sophisticated theater productions, a larger stage and higher fly loft
were needed, along with upgraded back-of-house facilities. Broadmoor performed the salvage of the
original stage house and constructed an expanded concrete and steel structure
at the facility’s rear, consisting of a full basement, new stage floor, and a
five-floor support tower. In the auditorium itself, the balcony seating tiers
were reconfigured to improve patron sightlines for this expanded stage.
Modifications performed throughout the building
brought the major public facility into compliance with updated building codes.
An adjacent four-floor historic building of the same era, originally built as a
hotel, was also restored to house further amenities as well.
The Saenger Theatre is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places and the restoration project was therefore eligible for historic
tax credits. As a result, the work was
consistently performed to ensure the approval of the U.S. National Park
Service. The facility ultimately opened to broad acclaim in September of 2013,
ready to once again meet the demands of a wider range of entertainment
including full Broadway productions for the City of New Orleans.
Owner: Canal Street Development Corporation
Architect: Martinez + Johnson Architecture
Contract Value: $52,000,000
Services: General Contractor