Always The Roosevelt:
No matter what name the wonderful, elegant old hotel on Baronne Street near Canal Street is called, to New Orleanians it will always be "The Roosevelt." The hotel was built by Louis Grunewald, a German immigrant, and opened in 1893 as "The Grunewald". It was re-named in 1923 after the President Theodore Roosevelt. Although the Fairmont took over the hotel in 1965 and re-named it, everyone around here still called it "The Roosevelt Hotel".
Inside of the Roosevelt was the Sazerac Bar and Sazerac Dining Room. With it's elegant red velvet booths and sherbet served in ice swans to cleanse the pallet before the next course, the Sazerac was one of our favorite places to dine before or after a performance at the Louisiana Philharmonic across the street.
The Blue Room:
Leon Kelner was the leader of the orchestra in the famed Blue Room Supper Club from 1945 to 1971. Many great stars performed at The Blue Room including Ethel Merman, Sophie Tucker, Jimmy Durante, and Sonny and Cher.
A New Life After Hurricane Katrina:
Hurricane Katrina did major damage to the historic old hotel, and it's fate was uncertain until recently when The Waldorf-Astoria Collection, a luxury member of the Hilton Hotels Family,announced plans to restore The Roosevelt to it's former glory. The estimated opening date of the hotel is mid-2009. And, as a special bonus to New Orleanians, the hotel will be named "The Roosevelt". That's as it should be.