NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Plans are in place create a performing arts center in a historic church building that has been vacant since Hurricane Katrina.
The Southern Rep Theatre, Rose Community Development Corporation and Alembic Community Development announced plans to transform the St. Rose de Lima Church building on Bayou Road near Broad St.
The hundred year old church will become the Bayou Treme Center and provide a permanent home for the Southern Rep Theatre.
"It offers everything we have envisioned in our search for a permanent space," said Aimée Hayes, Producing Artistic Director for Southern Rep Theatre.
"A permanent home of our own affords us the opportunity to build on the expansive arts education programs we already have in place, continue to produce artistically innovative new plays, and reach out to both the Treme and neighboring communities in a comprehensive and vital way."
The church operated for 90 years as a church after its construction in 1915. The Archdiocese of New Orleans closed St. Rose de Lima after Hurricane Katrina.
Developers say the 13,400 square foot theater complex which will house a 125-seat main stage and a 65-seat "lagniappe" stage and an outdoor stage.
The property includes two former Catholic schoolhouses. The plan envisions renovation of one as a space for a school operator. The second smaller schoolhouse will become office space.
"When Rose CDC first began this project several years ago, it was with a community-driven vision to bring an arts and education campus to Bayou Road," said Shawn Kennedy, board member of Rose CDC.
The project partners expect construction to begin in 2017 with a projected opening in 2018.