Renovation Report: Fillmore New Orleans opens at Harrah’s
By: Andrew Valenti, Reporter February 21, 2019
Project: An unused space on the second floor of Harrah’s New Orleans casino was converted into the Fillmore New Orleans, a 2,500-capacity music venue inspired by the iconic San Francisco club.
Address: 6 Canal St.
Owner: Fillmore is owned by Live Nation and operates under a long-term lease with Harrah’s New Orleans.
Architect: Ewing Cole
Contractor: Ryan Gootee General Contractors
Cost: Not disclosed
Start date: November 2017
Completion date: December 2018
The second floor of Harrah’s New Orleans casino has sat mostly empty since the business opened in 1999. The Fillmore, the newest entrant to New Orleans’ music scene, takes up 34,000 square feet and has a capacity for 2,500 concert-goers.
Most of the venue is standing-room only; however, there is stadium seating behind the sound booth and raised seating for 1,000 VIP guests on both sides of the pit floor. There are two bars that serve bar food, beer and cocktails. The VIP room is called BG’s Lounge in a nod to original Fillmore founder Bill Graham.
One entrance is from Canal Street, which is separate from the casino and allows concert-goers 18 years and older to enter. The other one is through The Masquerade nightclub inside the casino. Patrons entering from the casino will use one of two previously unused escalators to reach the second floor.
Live Nation runs the venue and also owns the House of Blues brand. Officials said one of the challenges of the project was incorporating and capturing the essence of New Orleans in the performance space, which takes up about a third of Harrah’s second floor. Local architecture and design details include wrought iron gate segments, a blue-colored Louis Armstrong mural, clapboard sidings throughout the venue and gas street lanterns. There are also chandeliers hanging from the ceiling in an effort to pay homage to the original Fillmore, a historic club in San Francisco. The original Fillmore West opened in 1968 and helped launch the careers of rock bands such as Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
Rock band Coheed and Cambria opened the New Orleans club on Feb. 18, and Duran Duran followed on Feb. 19 and 20.
Other Fillmore locations are in Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Silver Spring, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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