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8 Hotels in New Orleans With a Ton of History

Cameron Todd | December 22, 2017

With properties dating back to early settlements of French and Spanish explorers, terrible dark corners of slavery, fires and floods, flourishings of artwork, novels, and plays, and hideaways for famed politicians, a stay at any of the following New Orleans hotels uncovers layers and layers of colorful stories—often mixed with legend and embellishment, but always entertaining. These are the best historic hotels in New Orleans.

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The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

Why it made the list

Opening as the Hotel Grunewald in 1893, the hotel sold in 1923 and changed names to honor Teddy Roosevelt and his recent successful construction of the Panama Canal. In the 1930s, Governor Huey P. Long lived here, when in New Orleans to conduct business and drink copious Ramos Gin Fizzes in the lobby bar. The Hotel Grunewald's Cave was one of the first nightclubs in the country, attracting early jazz players and lovers, and later was a popular spot for the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, and Cab Calloway. In 2005, the building was largely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

A hotel of some form since 1893, this grand stone building j Read More


The Quisby

Why it made the list

Sailors and ship captains, prostitutes, Frito-Lay heiresses, punk rockers, and ne'er-do-wells all make up The Quisby's past. Formerly, this property was the Audubon Hotel, first a boarding house for sailors in the 1930s, definitely a brothel at some point, and later a hangout and residence for creative types and home to two notorious clubs, the Bamboo Dance Club and Audubon Club. Now recreated as a chic, modern hostel, former residents and employees still drop in now and again to entertain staff and guests with wild tales of the property’s former days.

This chic, modern hostel offers the best basics at a great v Read More


Edgar Degas House

Why it made the list

For several months in 1872, the impressionist artist lived in this Esplanade Avenue mansion while visiting his American family. During this tumultuous Reconstruction period in the city, Degas became enraptured by images of New Orleans, and credits the time spent here with a breakthrough in his stalled career. Still owned and operated by Degas’ great grand-nieces, the property today is a charming mix of museum, bed and breakfast, and family home.

This 1852 mansion was once home to the French impressionist Read More


Hotel Monteleone

Why it made the list

It’s no wonder the Hotel Monteleone is one of the main venues for New Orleans' biggest literary event, The Tennessee Williams Festival: the playwright often stayed here, and wrote about it in The Rose Tattoo. Other literary guests have included Truman Capote, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and more recently Anne Rice and John Grisham. It’s one of select few hotels in the country officially dubbed a literary landmark by the Friends of The Library Association. Capote, whose mother stayed at The Monteleone while pregnant with him, was known to boast that he was born here.

Dating back to 1886, The Monteleone is a longtime favorite Q Read More


Hotel Maison de Ville

Why it made the list

The original owner of these townhouses was Jean-Baptiste Lilie Sarpy, whose granddaughter, the beloved Henriette Delille, went on to found the Sisters of the Holy Family, a group of nuns and free women of color who taught slave children (when this was prohibited) and housed and cared for orphans. Later, another notable owner was Antoine Peychaud, the bitters concocter responsible for the invention of the Sazerac and an early adopter of the cocktail as we know it. Moving into the 20th century, Tennessee Williams often stayed here in the 50s and 60s, and is said to have written much of Streetcar Named Desire while living in Room 9.

A collection of historic townhouses and "bachelor quarters" Read More


The Cornstalk Hotel

Why it made the list

This mansion-turned-inn was built in 1816 by Louisiana’s first Attorney General (and longtime Supreme Court Justice) Francois Xavier-Martin. The home’s second owner added the iconic cornstalk fence around 1840, a gift to his Midwestern wife, and the hotel is still owned and managed by their granddaughter. Harriet Beecher Stowe was known to have conceptualized Uncle Tom’s Cabin during a long stay here and after visits to the nearby slave markets. Both Elvis Presley and Bill Clinton have had extended stays here. The property is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The uniqueness of this hotel is apparent from first glance a Read More


Dauphine Orleans

Why it made the list

The original site of this small French Quarter hotel dates back to 1775, and some of the original structures have withstood time almost that long. In the current breakfast room John J. Audubon painted his Birds of America series from 1821-22. Next door at Maggie Bailey’s, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, another piece of history is probably more responsible for the reported hauntings at this hotel: During a (legal) prostitution boom in the late 1800s, this was one of the city’s most well known brothels.

A casual hotel in a historical setting, the bar here was onc Read More


Omni Royal Orleans Hotel

Why it made the list

The famed St Louis Hotel reigned on this corner from 1838 until 1915, when it was destroyed by a hurricane. During its heyday as the luxury European hotel of the moment, hotel historians boast that both gumbo and the original concept of the cocktail were invented by employees here. After the hurricane, the rebuilt hotel hosted the first and most lavish Mardi Gras balls, transforming into a military hospital during the Civil War. The Omni’s more recent history boasts stays by Louis Armstrong, the Rolling Stones, Muhammad Ali, Bette Davis, Paul Newman and Lassie the Dog.

In a grand white-marble building at the site of the historic Read More

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