The Old French Opera House
OPERA FROM THE ASHES
On Dec. 4 1919 the French Opera House, which a month before had opened its first session since the end
of World War I, was razed by a fire of undetermined origin. Designed by architect James Gallier, the Greek
Revival-style structure on the corner of Toulouse and Bourbon streets opened in 1850 in a city that had
been one of the earliest homes of grand opera in North America. After the fire, opera in the city was
largely relegated to performances by touring companies until the founding of the New Orleans Opera House
Association in 1943.