A local church says it plans to bring new life to a landmark on St. Charles Avenue with plans to fully redevelop the former Jerusalem Temple building.
Officials with Church of the King announced Monday their plans for a press conference later in the month to detail their effort to restore the century-old building at 1137 St. Charles Ave., located right alongside Interstate 10.
A major gift from former New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) owner George Shinn will help the church restore the building, a church spokeswoman said Monday. The church plans to release more details at a press conference on Aug. 29.
Church of the King purchased the former Jerusalem Temple building from The Way Church in April 2006. Church officials said they have utilized the building on a monthly basis for medical and dental outreach as well as providing veterinary outreach in the neighboring community on a quarterly basis.
Renovation work is set to begin in October with more church and outreach services being offered in fall 2019.
Built in 1918, the Jerusalem Temple building was designed by architect Emile Weil, who also designed the Saenger Theatre, Touro Synagogue and the Whitney Bank building on St. Charles Avenue in the Central Business District.
The Middle Eastern design was inspired by the building’s original owners, the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, more commonly known as the Shriners. The Shriners is a Masonic fraternal and service organization formed in New Orleans in 1885.
In the decades to follow, the Jerusalem Temple was the site of many debutante parties, medical school events, Carnival balls and Shrine circuses. In 1995 the Shriners relocated to Destrehan, and the former Jerusalem Temple was purchased by Church of the King, which held religious services in Mandeville, Biloxi and Metairie, but not at the St. Charles Avenue location.