In the late nineteenth century African American Duplain W. Rhodes established a funeral home to serve the city’s African Americans. The business expanded in the twentieth century with several locations in New Orleans, and in 1969 acquired this theater that had recently closed. The building’s most distinctive feature is a tall terra-cotta frieze framed by rondels that spans the central portion of the facade between two tall towerlike end wings. The low-relief frieze depicts a celebration, with dancing figures perhaps related to the Greek muses; its aesthetic source is the frieze around the Parthenon in Athens. Originally, two Doric columns visually supported the frieze, adding to the classical mood. When the theater was converted to a funeral home, the most monumental of Rhodes’s locations, the interior was adapted to accommodate a chapel and a large parlor. The central recessed portion of the facade has been altered and the entire building is now painted white. In this lowlying area of the city, the building was flooded by about eight feet of water following Hurricane Katrina. Now restored, it is a multipurpose facility, available for such functions as weddings, meetings, and funerals.
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Rhodes Pavilion (Rhodes Funeral Home, Tivoli Theater)
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