City, 2018 Commission Begin Interior Restoration Of Historic Gallier Hall
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined members of the New Orleans Tricentennial 2018 Commission’s Gallier Hall Preservation Committee to announce the start of interior restoration work at historic Gallier Hall. This restoration work has been made possible, in part, by a donation from The Helis Foundation, who contributed $145,000. In 2015, the 2018 Commission launched a $5 million private fundraising campaign to support the restoration and preservation of Gallier Hall.
“As we approach our city’s 300th anniversary, we have the unique opportunity to thoughtfully set a course towards becoming the city we always knew New Orleans could be,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Of the many historic structures that define our city, Gallier Hall is one of those important buildings that we must continue to protect and preserve. But after standing as a symbol of our great city for over 160 years, Gallier Hall has begun to show her age and is in need of significant restoration. I am honored that the 2018 Committee is taking on the renovation of this historic structure. Preserving it is an important task to not only pay homage to those that came before but for the generations that follow.”
“Gallier Hall has been the centerpiece of civic life in New Orleans and needs our attention to ensure its place not only in our past, but in our future as well,” said Cheryl Landrieu, chair of the Gallier Hall Preservation Committee of the 2018 NOLA Foundation. “We would like to thank The Helis Foundation for their generous gift, which is allowing us to restore the integrity of Gallier Hall’s interior and activate a new life for the historic structure that includes concerts, meetings, filming and so much more.”
The 2018 Commission’s Gallier Hall Preservation Committee is continuing its fundraising campaign to support the full interior preservation, which includes the restoration of historic paintings and frames, chandeliers and windows located in 12 grand ballrooms. The period furnishings used during the building’s life as City Hall, long kept in storage, will be restored and displayed throughout the building. The restoration will also include millwork repair, painting, re-wiring, floor refinishing, the restoration of two antique Steinway pianos, refurbishing the Ty Tracy Theater and installing a state-of-the-art audio/visual system.
Gallier Hall is one of the most important structures built during the antebellum period of the city, City reps said. Erected between 1845 and 1853, it served as City Hall for just over a century. Designed by James Gallier, Sr., who also designed the Pontabla Apartments that flank Jackson Square, the building has been the site of countless important events in New Orleans history and has continued its traditional place of honor during Mardi Gras, with the mayor toasting parading carnival royalty from the front steps. Gallier Hall served as City Hall until 1957.
In the summer of 2014, a portion of the front pediment of Gallier Hall broke off and damaged the granite stairs below. As a result, a full forensic architectural analysis of the building was undertaken. The resulting data indicated the need for approximately $10 million in exterior renovations and approximately $5 million in interior renovations and preservations. This anticipated interior budget is based on the preliminary estimates from conservators and contractors, City reps said.
The expectation is that this restoration will create more opportunities to showcase the culture of New Orleans through intimate concerts, theatrical performances, and gala celebrations in this remarkable historic setting.
The City of New Orleans will celebrate the 300th Anniversary of its founding in 2018. In keeping with a tradition of large scale legacy projects at centennial milestones, the full renovation of St. Louis Cathedral took place for the 1918 Centennial Celebration of New Orleans. This will be among the largest projects undertaken as the City works toward the celebration in 2018.