The French Opera House, before and after. The Opera House burned in the early morning hours of December 4, 1919. By dawn, the building was in ruins. The cause of the fire was never determined, although it was widely believed to have begun in the restaurant housed in the building. For years, New Orleanians cherished hopes of rebuilding the theater and resurrecting the elegant days of French opera, but in the 1960s a modern hotel (now the Inn on Bourbon) was erected on the site. Until the construction of the Theater of the Performing Arts in 1973, New Orleans was without a permanent home for opera.

[Louisiana Division Postcard Collection]

Gone, all gone. The curtain has fallen for the last time upon "Les Huguenots," long a favorite of the New Orleans public. The opera house has gone in a blaze of horror and of glory. There is a pall over the city; eyes are filled with tears and hearts are heavy. Old memories, tucked away in the dusty cobwebs of forgotten years, have come out like ghosts to dance in the last, ghastly Walpurgis ballet of flame.

The heart of the old French quarter has stopped beating.

[Times-Picayune, December 5, 1919]