Saenger Theatre
New Orleans, Louisiana

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


January, 1984

Photo © 1984, by Alfred J. Buttler III



Some photographs from about 1975, while still in the original paint scheme:


The awning's gone from above the house left organ grille.


Visible in this photograph are the crystal underbalcony lighting fixtures, and a vintage Altec surround sound speaker.   ABC Interstate Theatres replaced the original valance & grand curtains with the simpler gold ones seen here.

Originally, the New Orleans Saenger Theatre had an additional grand curtain. A navy blue velvet grand, decorated with sequins sewn into an art nouveau pattern, hung on line 3 & was used as the grand on Mondays. The "Monday Morning Curtain" was taken down, then was lost when its storage area was later flooded.


  The original seats (which had the Saenger 'S' cast into the standards) were replaced in the 1950's with the seats seen in this photo.  


    The electrical panel, onstage (stage right).

At right is the pin rail for the fly system, which controls the raising & lowering of flats, lights, set pieces, etc. onstage.

The individual line at center is for raising & lowering the movie screen.



Daughter of Saenger treasurer L. M. Ash (and niece of Saenger President Julian Saenger) Henrietta Wittenberg visits the theatre during remodeling, about 1978. The carpet & seats have been removed from the upper balcony in preparation for new carpet & re-spaced seating.



Changes to the theatre through the years :

ABC Interstate Theatres, citing an order from the fire department, removed the beveled glass panes from the inner doors of the auditorium, replacing them with plastic. The original panes were stored in the basement - but thrown away during a later renovation.

The theatre was "twinned" by enclosing the balcony & creating a separate movie theatre: the "Saenger Orleans". Later, the partition was removed to restore the balcony to the auditorium.

The movie screen & projection equipment were removed around 1978.

The stage lighting panel was removed & replaced with more modern equipment. The original stage lighting panel also controlled the 3-color house lighting, which no longer could be manipulated via the new system.


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


    The Robert Morton theatre organ