The History of New Orleans’ Toulouse Theatre and Upcoming Must-See Live Music Events

TOULOUSE THEATRE’S RICH HISTORY AND ENERGETIC PRESENCE SETS IT APART AS THE FRENCH QUARTER’S LARGEST AND MOST PREMIER INDEPENDENT LIVE MUSIC VENUE

From its start as the Walter Reade Cinema in 1977, the location of Toulouse Theatre has been a hub for alluring entertainment. The venue now serves as the French Quarter’s largest artist-owned live music venue. Upon entering the building, a bar serving nostalgic cocktails surrounded by vintage decor and lighting greets visitors. The main showroom has a timelessness reminiscent of the diverse performers of the venue’s past and present.

The Lavish History of Toulouse Theatre

The legendary space at 615 Toulouse Street was first a movie cinema. By 1977 the building hosted iconic music artists like the Neville Brothers and James Booker. Several music industry investors have owned the spot, from the Shim Sham Club in 1998 to One Eyed Jacks in 2003.

After the closure of One Eyed Jacks in 2020, work on re-establishing the iconic space began. In 2021, Toulouse Theatre was born. Ben and Jeanette Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band are now key co-owners of the space along with his wife Jeanette and partners Clayton and Boo Randle.

“We weren’t in the market for this to happen,” said Ben Jaffe. “But this property is a very special place. Physically and culturally, it plays a very important role in the French Quarter.”

The Lobby Bar

Art Deco wallpaper and decadent gold accent the open bar in the lobby of Toulouse Theatre. As most New Orleans guests know, craft beer and classic cocktails make a great pairing with live music. Guests can indulge in a Jucifer IPA or a traditional Sazerac before and after the show.

The Main Showroom

Once guests pass the open bar’s tempting offerings, the main showroom welcomes them. It is no surprise that this artist-run venue, although small and intimate, has elegant lighting and intricate production. Throughout 615 Toulouse’s history, many notable performers have blessed its stages, including Sean Ono Lennon, My Morning Jacket, the Revivalists, the War on Drugs, and Lindsey Buckingham.

The Mezzanine

Views from the venue’s opulent mezzanine level offer privacy and seclusion while still fostering the uniquely intimate setting of the main showroom. The space has a mini open bar and provides the perfect setting for corporate events, wedding receptions, and holiday parties.

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