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Blake Pontchartrain: Marigny Opera House

The former church is a performance space and event venue

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Hey Blake,

I went to a concert recently at the Marigny Opera House. It is such a unique and obviously historic building. What's its story?

Dear reader,

  For almost 150 years, the building in the 700 block of St. Ferdinand Street in Faubourg Marigny was home to Holy Trinity Catholic Church. The church parish was founded in 1848 to serve German immigrants who had settled in the neighborhood. The building was designed by architect Thomas Giraud and opened in 1853. According to a 1997 story in The Times-Picayune, for many years Masses were celebrated in Latin, but homilies were delivered in German. Holy Trinity Catholic School opened nearby in 1871 and was operated by Benedictine nuns for many years.

  In 1997, as the church parish population dwindled, the Archdiocese of New Orleans decided to deconsecrate and sell the church building, citing termite damage and roof leaks that would cost more than $225,000 to repair. In 2011, owners Scott King and Dave Hurlbert renamed the building the Marigny Opera House. Though they did some repairs, they kept much of the building's patina intact, which enhanced its reputation as an artsy event venue. It is supported by a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to help local performing artists. It also has been used by national artists, including Depeche Mode, who filmed a music video there in 2013.

  Now called a church of the arts, the venue hosts weddings, meetings and artistic performances, including those of the Marigny Opera Ballet, its resident dance company. The Marigny Opera House also made headlines in 2014 when it hosted the wedding of singer and part-time New Orleanian Solange Knowles, which was attended by her sister, Beyonce.

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