A decade after Katrina, music returns to Orpheum Theater - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

A decade after Katrina, music returns to Orpheum Theater

Photo via Orpheum Theater, Instagram (@orpheumnola) Photo via Orpheum Theater, Instagram (@orpheumnola)
Photo via Orpheum Theater, Instagram (@orpheumnola) Photo via Orpheum Theater, Instagram (@orpheumnola)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

Music returns to the Orpheum Theater Thursday night.

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina left the theater dormant, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will take the stage Thursday in front of a sold out crowd.

Built in 1918, the Orpheum Theater has been shuttered since Katrina. The facility's basement suffered extensive water damage in the aftermath of the storm.

A $15 million renovation restored the building's rich design and ornate details, while also packing in some modern features – from an adjustable floor to state-of-the art sound.

The theater has been home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra since 1991. Returning to the venue for the first time since 2005, Thursday’s performance will be a homecoming filled with emotion.

"It feels amazing," bass clarinetist John Reeks said. "Like a lot of us that lost our homes in the storm, it's a feeling of coming back."

Carlos Miguel Prieta is music director and conductor. He said when the orchestra first played in the Orpheum after the renovation they couldn't believe the incredible sound.

"It was built before there were microphones and loud speakers, just the pure quality of the building was made for that," Reeks said.

There is an intimacy that makes musicians feel they are one with the audience.

"We can see everybody, which we couldn't do in halls we played," Reeks said.

The newly-renovated theater now boasts a seating capacity of 1,488 and the paint color scheme is now precisely as it was in 1921. It includes an adjustable orchestra floor and state-of-the art audio and lighting systems.

The Orpheum's co-owners said they'll host a wide range of events, from theater to concerts.

"It is going to be fantastic, and we're really looking to forward to it,” said Eric George, MD, the Orpheum's Co-Owner. “To be part of such an iconic property is priceless.”

Tickets for Thursday’s performance are sold out. However, seats are still available for Saturday night.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

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