Before it was a theater, the playhouse on St. Philip Street was a ballroom, and it would revert to its original ballroom status several times during its lifetime, alternatively known as the Salle Chinoise, the Winter Tivoli, and, in perhaps its most famous incarnation, the Washington Ballroom. Under the ownership of Bernardo Coquet, the St. Philip Street ballroom was the scene of the first balls for free people of color, and in 1805, when it was leased by Auguste Tessier, it became the first hall to host quadroon balls. Between 1808 and 1832, when it became the Washington Ballroom, the theater competed first with the St. Peter Street Theater and later with the Orleans Theater to be the premier site of French opera in New Orleans.

[J.G. de Baroncelli. Le Theatre-Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans. New Orleans, 1906]

One might say that the first decade of the nineteenth century belonged to the theater on St. Peter Street; the second one--more or less--to the one on St. Philip Street.
[Henry A. Kmen. Music in New Orleans: The Formative Years, 1791-1841. Louisiana State University Press, 1966, p. 76]