Don't call it a comeback. Ok, you can call it a comeback. It took exactly 10 years, but the Orpheum is back and better than ever. Meticulously restored to its original 1918 everything, this is now the poster child as to how this sort of thing should be done. It was abandoned, left for dead, and on the demo block more than once in it's 97 year history, but thanks to the likes of Dr. Eric George and Roland & Mary von Kurnatowski, the Orpheum is back. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is back. Wilco plays next month.
This place is stunning, and it's been a pleasure to photograph the renovation process. New Orleans' theater district is well on it's way back...something that had been in decline long before Katrina came. It's an exciting time.
It's been a long month filled with all kinds of memories most people would rather forget. A decade ago no one was sure of anything. The federal government all but left us for dead, and...actually, I'm not gonna go there. I wasn't here. I was at LSU, watching everything unfold on TV. I might as well have been a million miles away. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the destruction.
But this is a success story. In many ways New Orleans is better than ever, and in some ways, it's not. It's been a long hard road, and we're not done yet, but I honestly cannot think of another American city that could thrive like this, just 10 years after a near apocalyptic annihilation.
So, here are a few photos from the Orpheum's opening night last Thursday. It was a grand celebration, filled with great music, great food, and or course, great people. It's what we're all about down here.
I am so proud to be a New Orleanian. Our future is bright.