City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Records of the Municipal Auditorium

Date range: 1927-1973
Size of Collection: 67 volumes; 1 box (.5 cu. ft.); ca. 425 photographs; 9 folders, Official Vertical File
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment
Source of Acquisition: Transferred to the City Archives by the Municipal Auditorium Commission



Historical Note

On November 30, 1926, property tax payers of New Orleans voted to approve the sale of $2,000,000 in public improvement bonds to fund the construction of a “Municipal Auditorium or Convention Hall.” A few months later, the Commission Council adopted ordinance 9472 CCS (January 12, 1927) establishing the Municipal Auditorium Commission, which was charged with identifying the site for the construction, architects and engineers to design and construct the building, furnishings. The commission was also to administer and oversee the operations of the auditorium, once it opened.

The Commission was comprised of 9 members (required to be qualified voters and property tax payers) appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the Commission Council. The membership was increased in 1950 to 11 members. The mayor himself also served ex-officio. The members served terms of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 years (10 and 11, after 1950) without compensation, with the Mayor designating the term of each member and naming the Chairman.

The Commission was authorized to appoint officers, create committees as necessary, and to establish whatever rules and regulations it needed in order to conduct its business. It was also authorized to “select and employ such necessary persons to carry out the purposes for which it [was] created.”

The Commission met quarterly, but meetings could be held at any time on the written request of any three members or on the call of the Chairman or mayor. It was also to make quarterly reports to the Mayor and Council concerning its activities and its future recommendations.

The Municipal Auditorium was formally turned over to the City of New Orleans on January 15, 1930 and was dedicated on May 30, 1930.

The Municipal Auditorium Commission ceased to exist with the passage of the Home Rule Charter on May 1, 1954. Its functions were more or less continued by the Municpal Auditorium Advisory Board, which, after December 1955, became the Municipal Auditorium Advisory Committee. Over the next decade or so, the Advisory Committee's responsibilities and influence seems to have gradually diminished, and the Auditorium, for all practical purposes, came to be managed by the Department of Property Management through a Managing Director. It is not clear exactly when the Advisory Committee ceased to exist finally, but it may have been during the mid-late 1960's, when development of the Cultural Center began.


Scope and Arrangement

The records of the Municipal Auditorium are as follows:

  • Minutes of the Municipal Auditorium Commission and the Municipal Auditorium Advisory Committee, 1927-1963 (5 vols.)

    The typewritten minutes are bound into 3 volumes. Minutes are signed by the Chairman of the Commission. Meetings occurred irregularly, as often as every two weeks or as infrequently as four times a year (the minimum required by enabling legislation).

    The minutes reflect the business of the Commission, focusing initially on the funding and construction of the auditorium and, after 1930, on its operation. Minutes after 1930 include reports of various committees established by the Commission during its tenure (Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Building and Ground Committee, Labor and Policy Committee, House Committee). Beginning in 1944, the minutes also include the report of the Manager of the Municipal Auditorium. Inserted in the front of volume 1 are copies of the Commission’s by-laws and Ordinance 9472 CCS, establishing the Commission.

    Also available are two volumes of minutes (covering 1/29/1945 – 11/15/1949 and 4/5/1950 – 12/15/1954), apparently put together for the use of individual members of the Commission, which include onion skin carbon copies of the minutes, unsigned. Five copies exist of the first volume (with a specific Commissioner’s name penciled in the front) and four copies exist of the second volume. These volumes duplicate the original minutes.

  • Rental Calendar, 1930-1965 (35 vols)

    Bound ledgers, arranged chronologically, one volume per year (the volume for 1936 is lacking). Each volume gives the name of the group or event being booked and the type of space requested within the Auditorium (i.e., the arena, the concert hall, the exhibit halls, the assembly hall, the side auditorium and the auditorium). All of the volumes also include statistics measuring annual use. Beginning in 1956, the statistics were broken down into two categories: areas used and days occupied.

    Throughout the period covered by the calendars, two types of events were most consistently booked -- Mardi Gras balls and graduations for local schools and universities. Besides housing events related to the arts, the auditorium was booked for a variety of other purposes, including conferences, conventions, expositions, radio shows, and a wide range of sporting events including roller derby, ice skating shows, wrestling shows, circuses and gymnastic competitions.

  • Cash Book, Receipts and Expenditures, 1930-1932 (1 vol.)

    This single manuscript ledger covers the years January, 1930 to August, 1932 -- the first year and a half that the Municipal Auditorium was in operation. The volume provides a monthly accounting of the receipts and expenditures for the operation of the Auditorium.

  • Ledger of Revenues from the Parking Lot and Concessions, 1950-1962 (1 vol.)

    Bound ledger, giving, by date, parking lot revenues and concession revenues. Beginning in January of 1952, columns for checkroom revenues and for programs revenues were sometimes included. The last two pages of the volume chart the amount of Kilowatts used and the amount of electricity used for the period of July, 1950 to April, 1951.

  • Daily Time Record of Employees, 1942-1945 (3 vols.)

    Bound ledgers, arranged chronologically, one page per day of the week. Each page lists the name of each employee, time arrived, time departed, total hours for the week, and “Remarks.” The column listing employee names is typed, whereas the rest of the columns are written in by hand. Each page is signed by the manager.

  • Booking and Building Information Sheets, 1948-1949 (1 vol.)

    Bound ledger, arranged chronologically, containing two types of sheets, the booking sheet and the building information sheet. Booking sheets provide information about the groups leasing rehearsal space in the Auditorium. Each page gives the name of the lessee, the location requested, the purpose of engagement, and the time booked. In addition to keeping track of rehearsals, these sheets also indicated when sets, displays or equipment were to be erected or demolished. Building Information Sheets give special instructions for booked events. Each page listed five columns: the date, the lessee, the hall, the purpose, and the time. All of the information in the columns was typed. Occasionally, notes relating to budget, cost break downs, were informally hand written.

  • Scrapbooks, 1928-1968 (14 vols.)

    There are 14 large scrapbooks covering 7/20/1928 to 10/30/1968 containing a variety of materials relating to the Auditorium, including newspaper clippings (most commonly), fliers, posters, ads, invitations, programs, and other memorabilia. All of the volumes except for vol. 7 measure 16 x 24 inches; vol. 7 measures 12 x 18 inches.

  • Correspondence with the Mid-Winter Sports Association, 1935-1936; 1938-1954(.5 cu. ft.)

    Correspondence, arranged chronologically, between officials of the Mid-Winter Sports Association and the Auditorium’s manager, regarding use of the Auditorium for various Sugar Bowl events, primarily boxing and basketball. (NT 512)

  • Municipal Auditorium Photographs, ca. 1930 - 1960 (ca. 425 prints)

    The Municipal Government Photograph Collection contains a series of black and white, 8” x 10” prints sent from the Municipal Auditorium. The photographs cover primarily the 1930’s and depict programs, events and performances held at the Auditorium, as well as publicity shots sent to the Auditorium to advertise performances or individual performers. The photographs have not yet been scanned and are available to registered researchers by appointment with one of the Archivists.


Official Vertical File

The City Archives’ “Official Vertical File” includes the following Municipal Auditorium materials:

NT460
1946
Financial Statements, August 31, 1946
NT461
1940
W.T. Ryan and Co. Statement of Assets and Liabilities, January 1, 1940 – December 31, 1940. January 16, 1941
NT511
1932
Miscellaneous correspondence
Two letters from September 1932 between Charles A. Koch, Manager of the Municipal Auditorium, and S.R. Bridges, President and General Manager of Alkahest Affiliated Bureaus, regarding a booking in the Auditorium.
NT620
date
Seating Plans, 1930-1950
Various seating plans for the main auditorium
NT940
date
Schedules, 1961-1971
Scattered lists of booking, by month. Some reports include a “News & Notes” section by Richard R. Dixon, Manager of the Auditorium
NT901
1970
Memoranda
A single memo to Council member Moon Landrieu from Richard Dixon regarding advances to meet salary and electric service responsibilities
NT921
date
Publicity material
Material removed by the processors from the photographs sent to the City Archives by the Municipal Auditorium Commission. Press material accompanying the press shots sent by various artists or groups booking the auditorium.
NT950
1974d
The Municipal Auditorium at Beauregard Square, by Richard Dixon.
Brief history of the auditorium; typewritten
NT955
date
Miscellaneous uncataloged publications


Inventory of Volumes

NT300
1927-1963

Minutes of the Municipal Auditorium Commission and the Municipal Auditorium Advisory Committee, 1927-1963

v. 1     2/9/1927 - 12/20/1943
v. 2     1/17/1944 – 9/9/1953
v. 3     9/16/1953 – 6/11/1963
(Also, 9 volumes of duplicates)

NT400
1930-1965

Rental Calendar, 1930-1965

v. 1     1930
v. 2     1931
v. 3     1932
v. 4     1933
v. 5     1934
v. 6     1935
v. 7     1937
v. 8     1938
v. 9     1939
v. 10     1940
v. 11     1941
v. 12     1942
v. 13     1943
v. 14     1944
v. 15     1945
v. 16     1946
v. 17     1947
v. 18     1948
v. 19     1949
v. 20     1950
v. 21     1951
v. 22     1952
v. 23     1953
v. 24     1954
v. 25     1955
v. 26     1956
v. 27     1957
v. 28     1958
v. 29     1959
v. 30     1960
v. 31     1961
v. 32     1962
v. 33     1963
v. 34     1964
v. 35     1965

NT443
1930-1932

Cash Book, Receipts and Expenditures, 1930-1932
v. 1     1/1930 - 8/1932

NT470p
1950-1962

Ledger of Revenues from the Parking Lot and Concessions, 1950-1962
v. 1     1/1/1950 - 2/28/1962

NT483
1942-1945

Daily Time Record of Employees, 1942-1945
v. 1     7/9/1942 – 12/31/1942
v. 2     1/1/1943 – 12/31/1943
v. 3     1/1/1945 – 12/31/1945

NT660
1948-1949

Booking and Building Information Sheets, 1948-1949
v. 1     3/1948 – 12/1949
NT920
1928-1968

Scrapbooks, 1928-1968
v. 1     7/20/1928 – 2/18/1934
v. 2     1/7/1934 – 1/11/1937
v. 3     1/1/1937 – 4/30/1939
v. 4     2/1/1940 – 12/31/1940
v. 5     1/1/1941 – 2/27/1943
v. 6     1/1/1943 – 12/31/1945
v. 7     3/20/1945 – 10/14/1946
v. 8     4/24/1949 – 1/6/1953
v. 9     1/6/1953 – 2/26/1955
v. 10     2/26/1956 – 12/31/1956
v. 11     1/1/1957 – 12/31/1957
v. 12     1/1/1961 – 11/2/1964
v. 13     11/2/1964 – 12/31/1967
v. 14     1/1/1968 – 10/30/1968


Related Material

New Orleans (La.) Dept. of Safety and Permits. Building Plans

Among the building plans deposited in the City Archives by the Department of Safety and Permits are 10 sets of plans for various repairs, alterations, or additions to the Auditorium, dating from 1966 to 1997, including plans for the transformation of the Auditorium into a temporary home for Harrah's Casino (1993-1994) and alterations for an arena for the New Orleans Brass hockey team (1997). Note that the original plans for the Municipal Auditorium are not housed in the City Archives.

See HERE for a list of the Municipal Auditorium blueprints (listed by the address 1201 St. Peter).

Richard Remy Dixon (1911-1991)
Papers, ca. 1958-1977
MS 326
Richard Dixon served as Manager of the Municipal Auditorium from 19XX until his retirement in 1977. These papers comprise one linear foot of correspondence, articles, speeches, and other material relating to the management of the Auditorium, the history of New Orleans (especially of Algiers), and Dixon’s personal and political friendships.

See HERE for a finding aid for the Dixon papers.


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6/12/2012