SAENGER THEATRE
New Orleans, Louisiana

142 North Rampart Street
Opened: February 5, 1927
Architect: Emile Weil
4000 seats

 


 
Architect's interior design for the New Orleans Saenger theatre
 

 

Click the pictures for a closer look

 

    Canal Street entrance under construction, about 1925. The sign above the entrance indicates that the theatre would open in fall of 1925, but that wouldn't occur until 1927. Only the facade & arcade are in progress here, work has not yet begun on the auditorium. The buildings in the next block can be seen through the entrance.

In the entrance is a sign advertising the run of Elinor Glyn's "Three Weeks" with Aileen Pringle & Conrad Nagel at Saenger's Strand in New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

An invitation-only dedication program was presented the evening before opening to the general public.
You'll need a white tie.

 

   

Arcade of the New Orleans Saenger Theatre.

The New Orleans Times Picayune's article of the opening of the New Orleans Saenger states that the great chandeliers of the arcade ( 4 or 5) came from the Chateau Pierrefronds d'Oise. Only one of the chandeliers remains; the others were in a later year sold to finance a restoration effort. One now hangs in the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco.

 
   

Auditorium, house left.

Vintage picture, probably before opening: ladders can be seen on the upper wall. Notice greenery near statuary, awnings over organ grille (this didn't last long). Also visible on the upper wall: a stuffed peacock & an as-yet unarranged tapestry. The Solo Stage is located beneath the organ grille.

 
   

Auditorium, house right.

An early photograph, probably from the first year of the theatre's operation.
The hard seat backs in the balcony were changed fairly early, & seating was reduced from 4000 to 3600.

 
   

Orchestra.

The organ & pit are on separate lifts. There are 30 pieces in the pit, with a grand piano, harp, tympani, conductor, two organists, the four manual Robert Morton theatre organ, & still plenty of room for knees & elbows.

 
   

The Solo Stage.

Knabe may have been the exclusive piano for the Saenger Theatres; a Knabe grand is shown in its place on the Solo Stage, & a white 9' Knabe Concert Grand was originally placed onstage.

 
   

Ladies' powder room.

Among the details can be seen the original carpet: the carpet in the Saenger theatres had the company's "Saenger" logo woven into the pattern.

 

 

 

   

Mezzanine.

These photographs are from 1940 or later, the year when the original carpet was replaced with the "Paramount Swirl" patterned carpet seen here.

A gas jet can be seen on the wall in the center photograph. Even though the theatres were "all-electric", gas jets were still installed in the house until about 1928 in the Saenger theatres.

The stairway in the bottom photograph leads from the mezzanine to the lobby.

 
 
 

 

 

   

Full house at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
This is a view of about 1/4 of the theatre: visible is the right half of the balcony and underbalcony floor seats. Unseen are not only the left side, but all the floor seats in the front half of the theatre.

The occasion is a benefit in 1965 for the victims of Hurricane Betsy. A benefit was held at each of the Saenger theatres for the victims of the enormous, devastating storm.

 

 

 

 

More about the New Orleans Saenger Theatre

 

The Robert Morton theatre organ

 

 

Photographs & information generously provided by Dr. Barry Henry of New Orleans  
   

Copyright 1999 - 2009, William Hooper.


Other information:

 

 

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