The French Opera House (Theatre de l’Opera) was designed in 1858 by James Gallier, Jr., architect, for Charles Boudousquie. The building was constructed in less than a year at a cost of $118,500. The Opera House was the center of social activity in New Orleans, staging opera, benefits, debuts, receptions, concerts and carnival balls. The French Opera closed during the Civil War but reopened afterwards. By 1913, the Opera House had fallen on hard times and the building was purchased by William Ratcliffe Irby, who donated the Opera House to Tulane University. The Opera House reopened for a short period until the fire of December 4, 1919 destroyed the building. A modern Hotel occupies the site today.