NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Local theater lovers and preservationists celebrate as Saenger Theatre plans to re-open Dec. 11, after a big scare from the Hard Rock collapse across the street.
This is the day many people have been waiting for and the Saenger gave us a sneak peek today to show off a master that just survived another close call.
With its 15th century Italian design, the Saenger Theatre is an architectural treasure and when the Hard Rock collapsed across the street the city held its collective breath.
"Iconic, this venue means a lot to the New Orleans community," said Saenger General Manager David Skinner.
The 92-year-old Saenger Theatre withstood the partial collapse of the 18-story Hard Rock across the street, but it did not escape totally unscathed.
“We had a whole in the roof of the building, and on the rampart side some damage," said Skinner.
The crane implosion put a few more holes in the roof and damaged some glass display cases, but repairs have been made, and the Saenger is about to re-open.
"It's great news it's a beautiful building," said Leavitt.
The reopening is significant for many New Orleanian, especially Leavitt, who was working out next door when the building collapsed and saw his pickup truck turn into a makeshift medical unit.
“They were working on a construction worker who had a leg injury,” Leavitt said.
For the first time since the Oct. 12 collapse, Saenger officials let us in.
The floors glisten and there's no visible damage anywhere as they prepare to open.
Wednesday night for the first show since the collapse, Criss Angel Raw will open with a magic show.
“This is a big day,” Leavitt said.
Eight shows were moved to the Mahalia Jackson since the collapse, but now the Saenger is ready for opening night.
The roof appears solid, the repair has been made, but exactly who will pay for it will be sorted out later.
We will leave that to the lawyers, and the insurance companies,” Skinner said.
The Rampart Street side of the theatre has been bolstered with a row of large shipping containers and will be available as an emergency exit only. Patrons will come and go on the Basin Street side. The public is asked to cooperate.
Patrons are being advised to park at the University Place garage. The Saenger will offer shuttle bus service hours before and up to thirty minutes after each show.
The theatre plans to stay open when demolition begins on the hard rock.
The city says it could announce a demolition timetable as early as tomorrow.