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Carver Cuts Ribbon

Revamped Theater Carves Out Tremé Home

Today is International Jazz Day and the grand reopening of Carver Theater. New Orleans is known to be the birthplace of Jazz and this theater was the first state-of-the-art theater for African Americans in the city of New Orleans.


Mayor Landrieu’s Director of Economic Development, Amy Quirk, praised the theater’s progress. “Perseverance pays off. The Carver opened in the 1950s and decades later it is better than ever,” she said.


The reopened Carver Theater has an empty floor space making it available for both standing and seated events that can hold between 530-850 people. The walls and floor are colored in dark hues, causing the space to feel empty but malleable.


One could easily see the Carver hosting anything between a concert and a gala. Already it plans to be available for both public and private functions. For smaller events, there is an upstairs VIP lounge and balcony. The modest lobby is painted red and outfitted with the normal lobby accouterments of a bar/concessions stand and restrooms.


While residents and businesses of the Tremé have already experienced a lot of growth in the neighborhood, supporters hope that the newly reopened theater will become central to its continuing development. The theater hopes to bring more visitors into the Tremé, inspiring new businesses to set root as well as residents.


Already the area has seen advances including the Lafitte Redevelopment, the expected comeback of the Weekly School, and other continuing cultural institutions including the likes of Dooky Chase’s and the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure club.


“Already this area is coming back stronger than before the storm,” said council member Susan Guidry.


“NOLA is becoming the city we might have been, or could have been,” said James Gray.


During Katrina, the theater had been flooded with over six feet of water and restoration seemed to be a daunting task. Dr. Eugene Oppman, a key player in orchestrating the massive repairs, did not expect it to take this long. “This means its finally finished,” he said while looking out into the crowded audience.


One couldn’t help but also be struck by the community behind this theater. At the ribbon cutting, everybody seemed to know each other, with many small groups forming and reforming exchanging heartfelt hugs and hellos. Watching people as they came in, Guidry commented, “It’s fun to see their faces turn young again from the memories.”


You can find the Carver Theater on Orleans Avenue, just blocks from the French Quarter, under its 1950s big red and beautiful marquee. You can visit the theater today for its grand reopening, with free music until 3 p.m. and special performances from Dr. John and more throughout the night.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Michael Weber, B.A.


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Linzi Falk

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B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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