New Orleans' Redevelopment Boom After Katrina

Posted: May. 29th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse

Katrina's impact on New Orleans is evident everywhere, but in the aftermath of the devastation it's quickly becoming clear that the storm wasn't all-bad and the hearty residents of the city can take anything the world can throw at them. Katrina's damage has kick-started redevelopment of buildings like the Saenger Theatre, an aging building once ignored but now being revitalized, just one positive consequence of the storm.

With its grand arches, intricate plaster moldings, faux facades suggesting a centuries-old European villa and blue domed ceiling dotted by pinpoint lights, the Saenger Theatre was typical of the opulent movie palaces and playhouses built around the nation in the 1920s.

But bits of its flapper-era splendor were sacrificed over the decades as various owners tried to roll with changing times.

Chandeliers were sold. A clunky escalator was installed and the balcony walled off to form a second movie theater in the 1960s — a pre-multiplex-era architectural affront that was undone in the ‘70s.


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