Tipitina’s to open ‘entertainment destination’ on the Lakefront
The owners of Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theater plan to open a multipurpose facility for all walks of life at the South Shore Harbor on Lake Pontchartrain. The site will regularly host events and will have restaurants, an amphitheater for live music, a fuel dock, and marina store, as well as a boathouse for the last operational, fully restored combat veteran patrol torpedo boat, the PT-305.
Tipitina’s owners Roland and Mary Von Kurnatowski signed a deal on the application for a project called Lakeshore Landing in 2015 with the Orleans Parish Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority (NFPAMA). The Von Kurnatowskis agreed to spend at least $12 million to develop 19 acres at the South Shore Marina and former Bally’s Riverboat Casino site in New Orleans East. Mary Von Kurnatowski said she’s excited development is underway and she doesn’t believe the project could have had a stronger start than with the addition of the last operational World War II PT (Patrol Torpedo) Boat that offers rides.
Roland Von Kurnatowski said a partnership with the National World War II Museum started to develop when the museum contacted he and his wife as they were finishing the renovation of the Orpheum Theater.
“They’re so dynamic,” Roland Von Kurnatwoski said. “They’re so on top of things. And even though this isn’t amusement or food-related, it is on the water, and it is a boat. So we figured it’d be a nice addition to the plan.”
“You know, when it was a Bally’s casino site, they don’t have kids, so it wasn’t for families,” Mary Von Kurnatowski said. “So we’re looking forward to making it sort of a multifunctional, multipurpose space out here with a lot of activity going on for people of all ages.”
The Lakeshore Landing project first phase, slated to be completed in 2019, features the renovation of the Bally’s Riverboat Casino building to build a first floor open to private parties and a second floor with a restaurant and commercial kitchen. The amphitheater, a fuel dock, and marina convenience store and restaurants outside the Bally’s building are included in first phase plans.
The second phase entails a recording studio and adding bar, restaurant, and retail spaces.
Mary Von Kurnatowski said that the site will also be open to events like farmer’s markets and pop-up activities like outdoor yoga classes and movie screenings, but there won’t always be something going on. When the location’s not booked with events, the owners would like the site to serve as a recreational and family dining area.
“And we are positioning the amphitheater away from the residential area,” she said. “We’ve had community meetings and neighborhood meetings out here and they’ve expressed concerns.”
She explained that down the line, the Lakeshore Landing project could install kayak rentals and bungalow rentals on Lake Pontchartrain, opening up a closer location for people flying into the city from the Lakefront Airport to stay the night. She also wants to provide laundry and shower facilities for people with their boats at the dock.
“For a city surrounded by water, there are very few places where you can actually go and be by the water. The west end area hasn’t come back to what it was before the storm, unfortunately.”
An exclusive, early access homecoming party for the PT-305’s relaunch will be held at the restored boat’s specially designed boathouse, located at the Lakeshore Landing site on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The event takes place on March 25 and is presented by the The National WWII Museum’s Young Benefactors. The public can purchase tickets for 90-minute rides on the boat starting April 1.