Also known as the RKO Orpheum, it was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, built in 1918, and opened for vaudeville in 1921. The Beaux Arts style building has 1,500 seats. Soon after opening it became a movie house. In 1983, the Orpheum was scheduled for demolition but was acquired by the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and underwent a $3 million renovation. It served as the orchestra's home theater until the orchestra's financial demise in 1991. Under new ownership, the Orpheum became the home of the newly formed Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), whose musicians prized 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.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the Orpheum Theater was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina floodwaters and was sold to a Dallas businessman. It was then sold to Axiom Global Properties in 2011 (formerly Orpheum Properties, Inc.). Neither of these owners succeeded in restoring the theater to commerce. The theater was purchased in February 2014 by Dr. Eric George. Dr. George partnered with builder Roland Von Kurnatowski and completed a $13 million renovation.
The theater is set to reopen in August 2015. The first event held will be on September 17, 2015 with a performance by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). The LPO will be the anchor tenant for the theatre.