For the first time in about eight years, the Joy Theater is once again illuminating Canal Street. City leaders joined local music legend Irma Thomas and the theater's new owners to throw the switch.

The theater is the first to resume business at the corner of Canal and Rampart Streets since Hurricane Katrina. Now it is leading the way to bring a theater district to the corner. Irma Thomas will perform at the grand re-opening on December 29th.

"What makes it wonderful is it's not just a movie theater. It's an entertainment theater, so you'll some of everything, said Thomas.

It's true, the new owners wanted to make the restored theater as versatile as possible.

"We can do movies, we can do conferences, we can do seminars, we can do plays, we can do live music," said co-owner Todd Trosclair.

The Saenger Theater is the next building set to go online at the corner. But the State Palace remains closed. Mayor Landrieu says, yes, there's more work to do, but the progress is remarkable.

"We really need to take time to celebrate what's being done. I think people some years ago said you'll never have the Mahalia Jackson back, you'll never have the Saenger back, you'll never have the Joy back. And by the way, they're here."

Other performances at the Joy before the end of the year include the Soul Rebels and Kermitt Ruffins.