What’s the history of New Orleans’ grand Roosevelt Hotel? Curious Louisiana has the story.

What's the history of New Orleans' grand Roosevelt Hotel? Curious Louisiana has the story.
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When Vicki Oster was growing up in New Orleans, the Roosevelt Hotel’s elegant Blue Room was a favorite destination for dress-up family celebrations, with Leon Kelner’s orchestra providing musical entertainment in the hotel’s showplace venue.

The 14-story downtown hotel, with a bright, block-long lobby that sweeps from Baronne Street to (what else?) Roosevelt Way, has always intrigued her, she said. That led her to ask for more information about the establishment that has played host to generations of celebrities and politicians, as well as families who saunter through the lobby every Christmas to marvel at the holiday décor and snap selfies.

“To me, the Roosevelt is something that’s been in New Orleans forever,” she said, “and I’m 74.”

First, the Grunewald

While the hotel is a massive presence that exudes permanence, it hasn’t been in New Orleans forever, it wasn’t always so imposing, and its original name wasn’t Roosevelt.

It opened in 1893 as the Hotel Grunewald, a six-story, 200-room edifice facing Baronne Street in the block between Canal and Common streets. It was named for Louis Grunewald, who had built it.

Early in the 20th century, Grunewald erected a 14-floor, 400-room annex on the side of the block facing University Place (Roosevelt Way’s name then). It opened on Jan. 1, 1908, and offered a host of entertainment and dining rooms, most notably a subterranean nightclub, the Cave, which featured revues in a setting decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls, glass-topped tables and statues of gnomes.

In 1923, Theodore Grunewald, Louis’ son, sold the hotel to a business group led by Joseph, Felix and Luca Vacarro that demolished the original building and erected a tower as high as the annex.

Huey slept here

Also in that year, the hotel was named for former President Theodore Roosevelt. It retained that moniker until 1965, when it was dubbed the Fairmont when it became part of that hotel chain.

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About Mary Weyand 14483 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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