The Orpheum Theater is a theater in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Also known as RKO Orpheum, it was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, built in 1918, and opened for vaudeville in 1921. The Beaux Arts style building has 1800 seats. Soon after opening, it became a movie house. In 1979, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition but was rescued and underwent a $3 million renovation. It reopened in 1989 as home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, whose musicians prize the auditorium for its acoustical purity. The theater is an example of “vertical hall” construction, initially built to provide perfect sight lines and acoustics for vaudeville shows which didn’t have the benefit of amplifiers or modern lighting. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The theater was placed on the Louisiana Landmarks Society’s list of New Orleans’ most endangered sites in 2009.
The Orpheum Theatre was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina flood waters and sold to a Dallas businessman who plans to restore it. After failing to restore the property, it was sold to Axiom Global Properties originally named Orpheum Properties Inc. It is currently seeking a long term tenant and is undergoing renovations to restore it to its original glory.