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A former church in the 7th Ward is now a hub for arts, education, and business

The three-building complex now houses the Waldorf school, Southern Rep Theatre, and a coworking space.

Photo by Allison Beondé

This building now houses a coworking space.
Photo courtesy Alembic Community Development

Deconsecrated and vacant for years after Hurricane Katrina, the 7th Ward’s historic St. Rosa de Lima church (2541 Bayou Road) has been renovated and converted into space for Southern Rep Theatre, the Waldorf School of New Orleans, and coworking offices. The Rose Community Development Corporation (Rose CDC) and Alembic Community Development partnered to redevelop the circa-1915 Gothic-Tudor style church.

“Rose CDC is thrilled to have realized this longtime vision for the St. Rose de Lima campus as a hub for the arts, education and entrepreneurship,” said Rose CDC president Shawn Kennedy in a press release.

Southern Rep, an award-winning regional theater company, has been without a permanent home since 2012, when it lost its lease at Canal Place. The company’s new digs in the Bayou Road church complex include three performance areas: a main stage seating 125 people, a Lagniappe stage seating 74 people, and an outdoor stage.

In 2019, the nonprofit pre-K through 8th grade Waldorf School will move into a three-story brick schoolhouse at 2539 Columbus Street, which currently hosts the New Orleans Career Center, Operation Spark and New Harmony High. The schoolhouse was built in 1925 and served as a middle school for many years.

Parish Hall, a 10,500-square-foot coworking space, houses the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Women With a Vision, KidSmart, NewCorp, Fund 17, Brothers Empowered 2 Teach, and more. Office space is available for lease, and Parish Hall offers free coworking on Fridays..

“I congratulate Rose CDC and Alembic for officially opening the doors to these redeveloped historic buildings,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a press release. “I’m excited to see how this diverse mix of organizations will serve the community for many years to come.”

Coworking tenants receive 24-hour office access, unlimited conference room use, wi-fi, printing, and kitchen use.
Photo courtesy Alembic Community Development