Tipitina’s owners to open ‘entertainment destination’ on Lake Pontchartrain shore
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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.
With regular events and an amphitheater for live music, the new site will feature restaurants, a fuel dock and marina store, as well as a boathouse for the last operational, fully restored combat veteran PT 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. The Von Kurnatowskis agreed to spend at least $12 million to develop the 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 that the development is underway and that she doesn’t believe the project could have had a stronger start than with the addition of the last operational World War II PT boat that offers rides.
“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.”
Ronald Von Kurnatowski said a partnership with the National World War II Museum started to develop when the museum contacted him and his wife as they were finishing the renovation of the Orpheum Theater.
“They’re so dynamic,” Ronald 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.”
The Lakeshore Landing project first phase, slated to be completed in 2019, features the renovation of the Bally’s Riverboat Casino building to construct the first floor open to private parties and the second floor with a restaurant and commercial kitchen. The amphitheater, fuel dock, 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 would also be open to events like farmers markets and pop-up activities like outdoor yoga classes and movie screenings, but there won’t always be something going on. When the location is not booked with events, the owners would like the site to serve as a recreational and family dining area.
She explained that down the line, the Lakeshore Landing project could install kayak 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,” Mary Von Kurnatowski said. “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 at the South Shore Harbor. The event takes place on March 25 and will be presented by the National WWII Museum’s Young Benefactors.