Liberty Theater closing to repair water damage
Water problems have developed from the three down spouts on the south side of the theater. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
By: HARLAN KIRGAN
The Rendez-vous des Cajuns show at the Liberty Theater is closing until water damage is repaired, Eunice Mayor Scott Fontenot said.
The shows will continue at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve at 250 West Park Ave., Eunice
“This is something that is much needed,”Fontenot said of the repairs.
“It is not something that just happened overnight. This has been something, I guess, progressed over the years,” he said.
The south side of the theater has been subject to moisture problems due to poor drainage, he said.
“The roof leak is causing a public hazard on the south side of the building,” he said.
Lance Hatten, superintendent of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, said, “The Liberty Theater was built in the 1920s, and as we all know, historic buildings take a lot of love and a lot of work to keep them in good condition.”
Hatten added, “One of the best places in Louisiana to spend a Saturday evening is at Rendez-vous des Cajuns at the Liberty Theater, and the City of Eunice and the National Park Service are always ready to work together to do what it takes to keep the rafters ringing and the dance floor busy.”
On Tuesday during a tour of the theater, Fontenot pointed out wet carpeting, wall and ceiling damage coming from drain spouts.
“I was not aware of how bad the situation was until I went to the show one evening and Jerry DeVillier took me for a little tour because he is there every Saturday night,” he said.
“After that, that’s when I called a different roofing company to come in,” he said.
Morgan Roofing Company, of Lake Charles, is to repair roof and drainage problems at the theater, City Hall and the main fire station on Park Avenue, Fontenot said.
The city hall repair is to cost $2,100; the theater, $450; and the fire station, $720, he said.
In addition, Fontenot said he is about to hire someone to do city maintenance work, which will include tearing out the wet carpet at the theater.
Fontenot said he has met with National Park Service officials from New Orleans on renewing a contract with the city.
“I don’t think there is going to be a problem with us renewing the contract,” he said. There were issues that needed to be addressed and that included the damage from the roof, he said.
The park service has agreed to test for mold as part of the repairs, he said.
The city owns the theater and the park service owns the annex adjacent to the theater, he said. The facilities are operated under an agreement between the city and the park service.