THE BUILDING, located at 1427 O. C. Haley Boulevard (formerly Dryades Street), is a performance venue, art gallery and event space. An undertaking of Christian and Connie Labat, the project -- upon completion of its 3 floors -- will be the fruition of a dream and effort of this husband-and-wife team. Intentionally located on the historic Dryades Street commercial corridor, their vision has been years in the making and a true labor of love. Their goal is to support the social and economic revitalization of this significant street as a cultural corridor for the City of New Orleans, while maintaining the unique aesthetic and character of days gone by.
The property was originally built in the mid-1800’s at the center of the local Jewish community. In the beginning it housed, among other things, a tinsmith shop alongside a popular yet notorious saloon. Around the year 1900, it became the Dryades Street Branch of Hibernia Bank. Toward the mid-century mark it expanded and converted to Sol Katz' Furniture Store, and later Barkoff’s Furniture. Starting in 1977, for almost two decades it was the local meeting lodge for the Knights of Pythias and Court of Calanthe, a historic and important fraternal organization in the black community, before falling into disrepair.
Acquired by Christian and Connie before Hurricane Katrina, and with improvements at their own expense, they designed it to host visual art exhibits, live music, music education workshops, film projects/presentations, and private events.