Thursday night, the hurricane-damaged performance venue had a gala reopening. Here's a walk-through a few hours before the doors opened.

orpheum photo
The Orpheum

Thursday night, The Orpheum held a champagne reception to officially reopen the downtown performance space that has sat empty since it was damaged by the floodwaters that followed Hurricane Katrina. Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski and Dr. Eric George bought The Orpheum in February 2014, then started the renovation process soon after.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke on a night that also featured entertainment by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Allen Toussaint, Betty Winn and One A-Chord, and Helen Gillet. Attendees included Harry Shearer, Bryan Batt, James Carville and Mary Matalin, and Rita Benson LeBlanc.

The Orpheum already has a number of shows scheduled including Wilco (September 28), Dwight Yoakam (October 10), Rickey Smiley (October 24), Chick Corea and Béla Fleck (April 17, 2016), and the Paul Taylor Modern Dance Company (May 21, 2016). The LPO has scheduled a number of performances, and so far two Mardi Gras balls will take place in The Orpheum.

Shortly before noon, people were working busily to get The Orpheum ready. In the midst of that, Mary Von Kurnatowski showed us around.