Light show will go on at Gallier Hall despite building’s problems _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- A section of the facade of Gallier Hall broke off and crashed on the stone steps below, damaging them Tuesday morning. The area around the front of the building has been barricaded off for the safety of passing pedestrians.

The light show must go on.

Although Gallier Hall is in need of a major renovation that likely will force the relocation of the mayor’s official viewing stand during next year’s Carnival season, an elaborate light show set to project onto the building starting at the end of this month will take place as planned.

Arts Council of New Orleans President Kim Cook said Tuesday that LUNA Fête, an open-air video and sound installation that the Arts Council is presenting, should not be affected by the recent revelation that the 165-year-old building is in need of significant exterior and interior repairs.

Earlier this month, Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant told the City Council that a structural analysis of the granite and limestone building revealed “significant issues” with the stone cornice on its façade, as well as water and vegetation intrusion inside.

Gallier Hall is in need of a “fairly significant restoration,” Grant said at the time.

A section of stone cornice on the building’s façade broke off and crashed onto the steps below in August. No one was injured, but the steps were damaged.

The city has not provided a timeline for renovations to the building. But Grant, citing concerns about public safety, said it was unlikely that viewing stands would be set up outside the building during Mardi Gras.

Cook said her organization has been in contact with the city about its plan for LUNA Fête. Although she hasn’t received a “firm commitment” from the administration that Gallier Hall won’t be covered in scaffolding and under repair when the light show debuts, she said she is confident the show will proceed without interruption.

Although the front entrance to Gallier Hall is blocked off, the city’s film office still operates out of the building, and it still is used for occasional special events.

Gallier Hall is planned to serve as the canvas for LUNA Fête, an open-air light and sound installation that will be presented twice nightly from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6.

Using a process called projection mapping and a 3-D laser, a French artistic team, La Maison Productions, will transform the exterior of Gallier Hall into different colors and even what look like other well-known structures.

The show will be set to music, and viewers will watch it from across the street at Lafayette Square.