Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grand Opening Roosevelt Hotel In New Orleans

Half asleep this morning, Alberto already up watching the news, is when I heard a little birdie tell me that the old Fairmont Hotel that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina is having it's grand reopening this weekend, reborn under its original name of The Roosevelt Hotel.
It's decor will be restored to echo it's mid 20th century heyday.

The Sazerac is one of the oldest known cocktails, with its origins in pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana. The original drink is based on a combination of Cognac and bitters created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud in the 1830s, and is reported to be the first cocktail ever invented in America. [1] Since its creation, many different recipes have evolved for the drink, usually involving some combination of Cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe, pastis, Peychaud's Bitters, and Angostura bitters. The Sazerac cocktail was named by John Schiller in 1859 upon the opening of his Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. Both most likely derive their name from a popular brand of Cognac, Sazerac-du-Forge et fils .
The Fairmont had a bar called The Sazerac that was nearly as famous as its namesake, and the new Roosevelt is bringing back the bar, again with decor to reference its vintage.

John Besh is overseeing the kitchens, and lots of work has been going for years to get ready for the re-opening. The Fairmont is one of those hotels that mean alot to New Orleanians, so everyone is thrilled. Here are some fun facts:
  • Before the hotel was The Fairmont, it was The Roosevelt, the hotel which inspired Arthur Hailey’s 1965 novel Hotel
  • The Blue Room was famous in the 1930s through the 1960s as a supper club. Live entertainment will again be hosted in The Blue Room
  • Legend has it that infamous Louisiana governor Governor Huey P. Long loved the hotel so much, he had a 90 mile highway constructed that led from the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge straight to the New Orleans hotel.
  • The Sazerac Bar is famous for its Sazerac Cocktails and Ramos Gin Fizzes, both of which will be served in the bar again when it reopens.
Fairmont Christmas

The yearly Christmas decorations in the lobby are a dearly beloved tradition. When I first saw them I thought they were kind of over rated and uh tacky. But as the years passed I came to love them much in the same way I came to love beads, and the color combination purple, gold, and green.
After Katrina Harrah's Casino and Hotel recreated the Fairmont's Christmas decor outdoors in a little alley on Fulton Street, and somehow nice at is was, it was a pale replica.

Fulton Street

One of the most highly anticipated spaces being rebirthed and recreated in its original glory is the beloved Blue Room.
The Blue Room - legendary with locals, visitors and celebrities - will return to The Roosevelt New Orleans. In the golden era of supper clubs from the 1930s to the 1960s, the Blue Room played host to some of the best-known names in entertainment and big bands - including Tony Bennett, Louis Armstrong, Marlene Dietrich, and Sonny and Cher - as well as to elaborate floor shows.

The Blue Room was another one of those places that was a rite of passage as one grew up in New Orleans. Parents here take their children to restaurants starting at an early age, so that by the time they are adults they are well versed in the art and pleasures of dining out.

In addition to hosting Sunday brunch and regular entertainment, the Blue Room again will be available for the most special of special events, including weddings and carnival balls.

So they're putting on the final touches, and I can hardly wait! I will certainly post photos when I see all the restored decor in its glory.


Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jan said...

Interesting - as always.
Looking forward to seeing the transformation.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited. That bar was always a wonderful place to go for a drink after a show downtown... now if we can just get some more shows downtown, we'd be in business!

I certainly hope those beautiful murals in the bar were able to be saved!

Karen said...

Oh Valorie! How marvelous! I remember going to the Blue Room -I believe that Leon Kelner (sp?) played there. Once when I was really young (way back when) a friend had her birthday party there and she got to "lead the band" during one of their songs. What a celebrity!! I am sure that almost anyone who grew up in NO anytime before the 80's remembers the Blue Room. And then there was the Carousal Bar at the Monteleone that made you crazy going round and round - had my first Grasshopper there! You can tell I wasn't much of the drinker back then.

Visual Vamp said...

Hey Laurel, Hey Karen,
Let's make a date to meet at the Sazerac Bar! I'll get Julie and Mitchell to come, and any other NOLA bloggers (and the blog lovers too) I can dig up!
And Karen the Carousal Bar still turns, so we can all bar hop over there and check out Julie's fab chandeliers! Woo hoo!
xo xo

Anonymous said...

I'm totally there - it's a good ol' NOLA style meet up!

beki said...

Oh wow, what a sight to see!

Karen said...

Oh boy - there are LOTS of good ole places we could visit! I'm making up a list and I'll drop a line when my next I-10 RDX Razzle Dazzle is scheduled!

Jill said...

I love New Orleans and miss it terribly. We used to visit twice a year. After Katrina, we heard so many stories about rampant crime. Is it safe to revisit? Are the rumours unfounded? I miss Napolean House and Lafite's and room #60 at the Soniat House soooo much!!

Fifi Flowers said...

What a FASHIONABLE hotel!
We have a Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard and it is STUNNING too!

joanny said...

I love how you pay tribute to your city and capture the energy and beauty of New Orleans --
I loved your post on the Mardi Gras
I was disappointed in the Oregonian posting a stupid story about one incident at the end of Mardi Gras, they could have omitted it all together and instead chose to capture the spirit of this truly "unique city" and be an encouragement in its rebuilding. New Orleans message to the world a you tube song Stand By Me - Beautiful International Version from out of New Orleans


Tommy said...

Thanks so much for this post! My grandparents honeymooned at The Roosevelt in the late 1940s. I visited in college [over Mardi Gras] when it was the Fairmont. I'm happy to hear it will reopen soon, fully restored. I can't wait to take my kids there and show them where their great-grandparents honeymooned - and how it's once again going strong.

Anonymous said...

A carousel bar that turns? Wait, I'll get my purse!