After 25 years of boarded windows, the Teche Theater in St. Martinville reopens as a music hall and recording studio. As part-owner of Windmill Recording Studio in New Iberia from its inception in 1998 until its closing in 2003, Terry Dupuy has worked with notable musical acts like Gatemouth Brown, Doug Kershaw, Wayne Toups, Roddie Romero, Nathan Williams and Sonny Landreth. A year ago, Dupuy saw the “for sale” sign on the old Teche Theater on Main Street in St. Martinville.
Dupuy bought the 1920s building and began a year-long, $250,000 renovation project that wraps up this weekend, with three days and nights of live music. The 6,000-square-foot building with its 30-foot ceilings had been vacant since 1983, and the roof was on its last leg. Dupuy gutted the entire building, left the bare brick structure, ran new wiring and plumbing, replaced the roof and transformed the old theater into a recording studio and music hall.
“The main purpose of the building is to be a recording studio,” Dupuy says. “That’s my passion. But it will also be a sound stage for film and video.” The theater’s renovated balcony is now a control room and recording studio, and the theater’s stage will serve as a live sound stage that can accommodate either a 50-piece orchestra or a 200-person choir for either recording sessions or live performances. But Dupuy doesn’t plan on booking bands in the 3,000-square-foot room every weekend.
“I’m not going into the night club business,” Dupuy says. “I’m just in the music business, and periodically I’ll open the place to guests to check out a band or two I’m working with in the studio. This weekend, I’m just going to be introducing the place to people.”
On Friday night, Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp band take the stage at the Teche Theater Recording Studio and Music Hall, with special guest Michael Juan Nunez. On Saturday, ZydecoOnline.com presents Jeremy & The Zydeco Hot Boyz. After St. Martinville’s Mardi Gras parade on Sunday, there’s an open jam starting at 3 p.m. with Drew Landry and Steve Grisaffe and a performance by Six String Rodeo. The Teche Theater is located at 138 S. Main St. in St. Martinville. For more information visit www.techetheater.com or call (877) 565-1797.