by Jeanie Riess
The historic Carver Theater, which opened in 1950 as a venue for the black community during segregation, closed in 1980, though it was brought back a few years later as a medical center to serve the Lafitte Housing Development. On April 30, the theater will reopen again, this time for its intended use: to bring jazz, musicals and theater to its stage, and to add special flair to a neighborhood left blighted after Hurricane Katrina.
Saxophonist Big Chief Donald Harrison will christen the opening of the newly renovated, 16,000 square foot Orleans Avenue landmark with a performance and special guests Christian Scott and The Bridge Trio. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets will be available at the theater's website.
The official ribbon cutting and International Jazz Day celebration will run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include food and music. That event is free and open to the public and precedes two screenings of Rockin' the Opera House, a film starring Dr. John, first at 5 p.m. and again and 7 p.m. Dr. John himself will be on-hand to discuss the film, along with Allen Toussaint and other greats.