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Group: Joy Returning to Canal St. in 2012

As Rene Brunet told us recently, there was a day in New Orleans when theatres thrived. But that day could return again. Plans to renovate the Saengar Theatre are slowly becoming reality, and developers announced today that concrete plans are in place across the street at the Joy. A group of well-connected New Orleans businessmen bought the vacant theatre at 1200 Canal St., and are looking to return the building to its former glory. According to a news release, Neal Hixon, Joe Jaeger, Allan McDonnel, and Todd Trosclair, formed NOLA Theatre LLC, and plan to reopen the theatre in the first quarter of 2012. 


McDonnel's construction firm, The McDonnel Group, will be the general contractor on the project, which includes renovations to the building and an upgrade. Trosclair's company, All-Star Electric, will handle the electrical work. The renovation is being partially financed with state and Federal Historic Tax Credits along. Louisiana Live Performance District Tax Credits, which offers incentives to live performers. The plans appear to call for resuming the theatre's original functions, including hosting live music, comedy shows and other performances, as well as current movies.


The businessmen involved in the deal are no strangers to revivng institutions with a storied past. In 2009, Trosclair and John Georges entered into a majority ownership deal for the French Quarter's storied high-society stable, Galatoire's Restaurant.  A year before that, Jaegar partnered with son of Mr. Mardi Gras, Barry Kern, to form Mardi Gras World, LLC, which opened the East Bank Mardi Gras World complex. The McDonnel Group has overseen renovations at the New Orleans Airport, and various medical centers and hotels, and many other projects. The group plans to employ local companies for the renovations.



"The renovation and reopening of the Joy Theatre is a critical component to the revitalization of this area of Canal Street," McDonnel said.


Renovations are also in the works at the Saengar Theatre, which sits across Canal from the Joy. The streetcar expanding down Loyola Avenue doesn't hurt the timing of the project, either.

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