While other theaters and arts organizations around the country are downsizing or closing because of the economy, New Orleans' storm-damaged Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts will reopen this week after a $22-million renovation, the first local theater to reopen since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
A weeklong festival of events surrounding the theater's debut kicks off today with a program featuring New Orleans-based performers; throughout the week, visiting stars include violinist Itzhak Perlman, gospel singer Yolanda Adams and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tenor Placido Domingo, who serves as general manager of Los Angeles Opera, will perform with the Louisiana Philharmonic, the New Orleans Opera Chorus and others on Jan. 17 on the Placido Domingo Stage. "The reopening of the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts is central to the recovery and growth of the arts in New Orleans," Mayor C. Ray Nagin told The Times via e-mail. "Even in an environment in which we must make tough decisions about where to focus our resources, New Orleans is using federal and state resources as well as significant local dollars to invest in the arts and our city's heritage by transforming this critical community asset."