The New Orleans Theater for the Performing Arts opened in 1973, considered by many to be the long-awaited replacement for the city’s old French Opera House, which burned to the ground in 1919. Its inaugural concert was a memorable performance by native bass-baritone opera singer Norman Treigle, who performed Giuseppi Verdi’s Requiem Mass with the New Orleans Symphony.
For decades the theater provided the Crescent City with world-class performances of music, theater, opera and dance. In 1993 the venue’s name changed to the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, in honor of the famed gospel singer and one of the city’s most prized musical exports.
In 2005, the theater was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, taking on 14 feet of water; it reopened in 2009, the first major theater in the city to do so after the hurricane. The Mahalia Jackson Theater is steadily reclaiming its place as the region’s premiere presenter of the performing arts. At the return of full operations, it will serve as the performance home of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, New Orleans Ballet Association, New Orleans Opera Association, and numerous touring productions of Broadway Across America.
Mahalia Jackson Theater Information
- Public Transportation: Good (easily accessible by several bus lines)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 50 performances annually
- Ticket Prices: Vary ($15-125) depending on event and seating choice
- Group Sales: Groups of 20+ may qualify for a discount.