Local Arts

Historic Eldorado Ballroom has new life after a complete renovation

The ballroom has been a part of the Third Ward since 1939. A nearly $10 million renovation has allowed the ballroom to open once more.


The Eldorado Ballroom has received a $10 million renovation. The Ballroom was a place for Black residents of the Third Ward to enjoy themselves.

The Eldorado Ballroom was littered with vibrant blue and yellow lights last Thursday, March 30 for dozens of folks to celebrate the reopening of the historic ballroom.

The historic ballroom at Elgin and Emancipation started as a place for Black residents in the Third Ward to see performers, host events, and celebrate milestones without discrimination.

It received a renovation, led by Project Row Houses, a non-profit that has helped with historic preservation in the Third Ward. The previous owner of the Eldorado donated the ballroom to the organization in 1999.

Eureka Gilkey is the executive director of Project Row Houses. She spoke about Anna Johnson Dupree and Clarence Dupree, who opened the Eldorado in 1939.

"Anna and Clarence knew that as much as people needed a place to buy a dresser and a couch, they also deserved a place to nurture hope. To show off what they've grown, and to reconnect with each other, and experience joy," she said. "This space is sacred."

The nearly $10 million renovation includes a complete face-lift of the building, both inside and out. Inside the Eldorado, there is an art gallery, restaurant, and of course, a ballroom.

Danielle Fanfair is a participating artist for Project Row Houses' Round 55 Drive-By. She retold the history of the ballroom during the ribbon cutting ceremony and shared personal ties to the Eldorado.

"My grandmother danced here. So the Eldorado Ballroom to me just really represents not only the past and present, but the future of what happens when you invest in Black people," she said. "We're gonna always give you more than what you gave us."

Artists chosen to participate in Round 55 are meant to represent a balanced, intergenerational connection to Third Ward. The round, Fanfair said, is a drive-by exhibition meant to re-narrate the phrase, "drive-by."

"[We want to] take it away from violence and move it towards accessible beauty that you can drive by and experience," Fanfair said.

Both the round and the restoration of the Eldorado are meant to "enhance the quality of life and economic vitality for the Third Ward," according to the Project Row Houses. The Drive-By is available until June 4. The Eldorado will be available for rental in late spring.

Patricia Ortiz

Patricia Ortiz


Patricia Ortiz is a daily reporter for News 88.7. Her work includes a variety of topics including transportation, technology, energy, immigration and education. Patricia graduated from the University of Houston in Fall 2022 with a Bachelor's in Journalism. She spent most of her college career at the university's literary magazine,...

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