NEW ORLEANS -- The twin bell towers of the beautiful Holy Trinity Church have soared above the Faubourg Marigny for 160 years.
"This was a German Roman Catholic Church for the German immigrant community, and they were very serious about music," said Marigny Opera House founder Dave Hurlbert. "People would come here for the music."
The long-closed church was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina when Dave Hurlbert saw the hand-written "For Sale" sign.
"When I walked in, I saw this, I saw the arches," said Hurlbert. "I saw the stained glass, and I heard the sound."
"I feel partly responsible for turning a derelict building into a cultural venue," said the other Marigny Opera House founder, Scott King.
Hurlbert and Scott King turned Holy Trinity into the Marigny Opera House, hosting events ranging from meetings to musicals.
"I see things going on almost every weekend and many weekdays for neighborhood benefit and artistic enjoyment," said King.
"Have you ever had this much fun as an architect? Marigny Opera House is one of the best projects I've ever had the opportunity to work with," said architect Rick Fifield.
"So far we've cleared out the salvage, gotten rid of the termites -- step one -- wired the building for electricity. We had to start over," said Hurlbert. "All of these lights had to be rewired. We installed sewage, water and plumbing."
But to properly restore and preserve this structure, every step is expensive, so they've set up the non-profit, tax-free Marigny Opera House Foundation, and they're looking for donors to help them save this piece of history.
"The second phase would be actually preserving the building. That would be repairing the floor, repairing the plaster, maintaining its charm, but making it strong for the future," explained Fifield.
They now call it the Church of the Arts. You can reach the Marigny Opera House Foundation by calling 948-4888, or visiting their website here.