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Blakeview: Municipal Auditorium 

May marks the 85th anniversary of the dedication of a New Orleans landmark, the Municipal Auditorium. The building was constructed in Beauregard Square (later Congo Square) and took eight years and $2.5 million to build. It was dedicated on May 30, 1930, although it hosted events, including an appearance by Al Jolson, in the months prior to the dedication.

  "The Municipal Auditorium provides a center for civic life that has here-before not been available," The Times-Picayune wrote, calling it "a building that is at once an opera house, a stadium, a concert hall, a Greek theater, an exhibition room, a setting for Carnival balls and a little theater for amateur dramatics."

  The building offered seating for more than 10,000. Over the years, it also hosted school graduations and proms, concerts (Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Liberace and Louis Armstrong and many others), ice skating shows, dance revues, boxing, wrestling, New Orleans Jazz basketball games and an annual Shrine Circus.

  In the 1990s, the auditorium was home to the Brass hockey team and later a temporary casino. In 1994, it was renamed the Morris F.X. Jeff Sr. Municipal Auditorium, honoring one of the city's early Recreation Department leaders. It suffered severe flood damage when the levees failed following Hurricane Katrina, and plans for its future are uncertain.


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