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Opening Night at Saenger Theater

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina the newly renovated Saenger Theater is treating the crowd to a world-class performance.

Ticket holders at the historic Saenger Theater on Friday night are part of the first audience to experience what 52 million dollars in renovations feels like.

Jerry Seinfeld headlines this debut performance in one of the ‘most’ anticipated post-Katrina re-openings.

The public can see how designers combine the Saenger’s original feel with a modern touch.

The new Saenger Theater now makes New Orleans a destination more so than ever, for broadways best.

At 10 pm Friday there`s about 20 tickets left on Stub Hub for Saturday nights Seinfeld shows. at about 100 dollars each.

It took 10 years and $52-million to re-build the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina damaged it. But the storm could not destroy it. The Saenger opened as a movie palace back in 1927. WGNO News with a Twist features reporter Wild Bill Wood takes you inside for a look with architect Gary Martinez.


Saenger Theater opens its doors after $52 million renovation

She’s been shuttered for eight years. Katrina poured in neck-deep water at the front end of her stage, but a painstaking renovation has brought the Saenger back to life.

“The amazing stenciling decorative work, no one has seen it since the 20s,” said David Anderson, CEO of ACE Theatrical Group. “It was dirty and grimy. You just couldn’t see it.”

The carpet was recreated from a small swatch of the original 1927 carpet that a New Orleans theater buff had saved over the years.

The chandeliers were found covered in dust in a French Quarter antique shop.

“They had nine of the original 13 chandeliers for sale,” Anderson told WGNO News . “The shop owner gave us a huge discount.”

The architectural detail is magnificent. And the backstage area is bigger than ever, able to handle the largest touring stage productions on the road today.

And by the way … the stars set into the ceiling are back and glittering.

The first performance is set for Friday night. Jerry Seinfeld takes the stage at 7 p.m.

New Orleans now has two major newspapers again: the Times-Picayune and businessman John Georges’s new paper, the New Orleans Advocate. But we’ve always had several minor rags that float around our city once a week or so. The other day, a friend emailed me a photograph of the front page from one of those rags.  It read “The tricky business of measuring progress 8 years after Katrina”.  Yeah, it’s real tricky.  How about going outside and opening your eyes?

Unless you are not from here or have not spent the last few decades here, I don’t know how you couldn’t see the dramatic progress New Orleans has made since Katrina. We have literally reinvented ourselves. If you’ve been away a few years and came back, you wouldn’t recognize the place. New Orleans has changed, and just about all of it for the better!

The only people who find it “tricky” measuring progress post-Katrina are the ones who long for the past, when New Orleans was a paradise for the privileged few who had a city contract or better yet, were elected officials dolling out those contracts.

Measuring progress post-Katrina is easy. How about nearly $15 billion in new flood protection for our city? How about nearly $2 billion in new public school construction in Orleans parish alone?  How about the nearly $1 billion new twin spans connecting New Orleans East with Slidell?

Yeah, it’s real tricky measuring progress in New Orleans post-Katrina.   How about the seemingly endless amount of new street and road projects all over New Orleans?  What about the third of a billion dollars spent redoing the Superdome?  Or the $2 billion worth of new hospitals being built on Canal street right off I-10?  Or maybe it’s the multi-million dollar renovations to the Mahalia Jackson and Saenger theaters?  How about the $200 million being invested in new downtown living? Or the $600 million being spent in and around the old Iberville housing development?  And how about all 10 major housing developments that are no longer with us?

What about the future?  A billion dollar new terminal at Louis Armstrong International, a new City Hall, and the redevelopment of the World Trade Center and riverfront?   Outside companies and investors are flocking to our city and the state is on the brink of a natural gas economic explosion.

“The tricky business of measuring progress 8 years after Katrina”.  There’s nothing tricky about it.  Just go outside and open your eyes.

The historic Saenger Theatre is scheduled to re-open in the fall, and they’re kicking off their season in style with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

The concert is on Wednesday, October 2 at 10 a.m., so mark your calendars!

The show is free, just pick up tickets at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre box office.

The reopening of the historic Saenger Theatre just got an extra dose of star power: singing legend Diana Ross will be performing on Wednesday October 30. A full line-up for the opening concerts is available at


Jerry Seinfeld to take Saenger stage

Jerry Seinfeld will be the first act to perform when the Saenger Theatre.

He’s scheduled to take the stage Saturday September 28.

Tickets will go on sale the Friday before the show.

The Saenger has been closed since Hurricane Katrina.

It’s undergoing a $52 million restoration.