NEW ORLEANS–Sometimes what is old can become new again. Such was the case with the red brick building at 3700 Canal Street in the historic Mid-City neighborhood. Recognized by the New Orleans Historic District Landmark Commission, the building had been a church for six decades, until it was closed in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Eventually its owners put the spacious structure up for sale, and in 2019 it was reborn as a house of worship, slated to become the fifth campus of Baton Rouge-based Bethany Church. Bethany planned to open the new church in 2020 until the Covid pandemic got in the way.
This August, the building finally began its new life as a church when it opened its doors to worshippers, after extensive renovations and repairs. Some of the stain glass windows and wrought iron from the original church were still in place, but the inside was transformed to provided a more modern and engaging worship experience.
Key to creating this immersive experience is a collection of new LED lighting fixtures anchored by eight Rogue R2 Wash, 14 Rogue R1 Wash, 9 Rogue R2x Wash, and 15 ÉPIX Strip Tour fixtures.
“We purchase the fixtures earlier this year and installed them to have everything ready for our opening on August 15,” said Brandon Broussard, lighting director for the campus. “We never would have been able to get everything done on time, if it weren’t for our amazing group of volunteers.”
The Bethany team hung the moving fixtures on four tiers of truss. On the highest level, which runs over the mid-stage deck, they flew their RGBW Rogue R2 Wash units, relying on the fixtures’ wide zoom range to change looks by adjusting coverage areas. The Rogue R1 Wash units were flown on three rows of truss at progressively lower trims.
This staggered configuration was critical to creating a sense of depth on the church’s relatively narrow stage. “The biggest challenge in lighting the New Orleans campus is the layout of the room,” explained Broussard. “The room is long and narrow, which means the stage is also narrow, but by using lighting effectively, we’ve created that sense of depth.”
While the other Rogue fixtures are adding depth to the stage, the Rogue R2X units are providing key lighting to enhance the visual experience. The design team positioned five of the units on the front truss for key lighting and four on the upper truss with the washes for back lighting.
To enhance eye-appeal and add a contemporary flare to services, the team positioned the ÉPIX linear fixture across the three lower truss sections. Using Resolume to create video effects over the stage, Broussard turns the truss from a utilitarian to a design element.
“This is a historic building that we have given a contemporary look to,” said Broussard. “Aside from the limitations of the stage, we have eight high bay stained glass windows, which let in ambient light. Due to the building being a part of the Historic District Landmark Commission, we are limited in what we can and can’t do–but we’ve made it work!”
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