Hotel Monteleone

In 1886, Antonio Monteleone purchased what was to become the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The hotel lies at 214 Royal Street on the corner of Iberville and is the largest and oldest hotel in New Orleans. Since 1886, four generations of the Monteleone family have owned the hotel, making it one of the last family-owned and operated hotels in New Orleans. [1]

Hotel Founding and Growth

In the 1880s and early 1900s, many Italian immigrants, especially Sicilians, were coming to New Orleans because Italy’s severe economic and social problems forced many to leave. The migration occurred after the Civil War, and many Italians settled in New Orleans, quickly filling the labor shortage in Louisiana. They brought their previous work experience, and many quickly set up small businesses and ventures. By the end of the 1890s, more than 2,000 Italians were coming to New Orleans each year. They continued to settle in the French Quarter because rent was cheap, and the area earned the nickname “Little Italy” or “Little Palermo.” These influential Italians brought their work ethic, faith, family devotion, and cultural values which significantly contributed to their social and economic accomplishments and successes. [2]

One such Sicilian immigrant was Antonio Monteleone, who worked as a shoe cobbler in the city. Across from where he worked stood the 64 room Commercial Hotel, which he purchased in 1886. Toledano & Wogan Architects headed construction and added thirty rooms in the very first year. In 1902, Mr. Monteleone purchased more property on Exchange alley that became a major addition to the Commercial Hotel. [3] Then in 1905, Monteleone renamed it the Hotel Monteleone. Subsequently, more rooms were continuously added throughout the 20th century, such as the 300 additional rooms in 1908. Today, the Hotel Monteleone features 600 guestrooms and 55 suites, [4] and remains one of the leading hotels in the city of New Orleans.

Literary Landmark

The Hotel Monteleone accommodated distinguished Southern authors and was often immortalized and mentioned in many of their works. Ernest Hemmingway, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner always stayed at the hotel when visiting New Orleans. [5] Hemingway memorialized Hotel Monteleone in his short story, “Night Before Battle” which was about the Spanish Civil War. [6]
Williams visited the hotel as a young child and included the Hotel Monteleone in his play, The Rose Tattoo. [7] New Orleans is also the setting of one of his most famous works, A Streetcar Named Desire. [8] Today, Hotel Monteleone holds the Tennessee Williams Festival each year in March in honor of the great author. It is because of the Monteleone’s distinction among the literary elite that it was designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association and Friends of the New Orleans Public Library in 1999. [9]

New Orleans Media and Cultural Productions

Hotel Monteleone has been featured in films such as Double Jeopardy, Retirement, Glory Road, The Last Time, and 12 Rounds. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel, HDTV, CBS Morning Show, NBC Today Show, NBC’s The Apprentice, PBS, A&E, BRAVO, E! Entertainment, The Food Network, and CNN’s “Larry King Live.” [10]

Hotel Monteleone has contributed to New Orleans media and cultural production through its events, films, television production, and its designation as a literary landmark. In the 1880s and throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Hotel Monteleone has been a symbol of wealth, success, and prosperity. It accommodated the elite and reputable society members, and was known to be a place where the rich could stay while visiting New Orleans or where high class society could attend an event. Over the years, the hotel has opened its doors to a more mixed crowd to accommodate the general public. Because of its exquisite lodging and increasing popularity, Hotel Monteleone has filled the pages of newspapers, television, and film, fostering a culture of prosperity and wealth in New Orleans that remains to this day.

Paranormal Activity

According to the International Society of Paranormal Research, there are more than a dozen ghosts who live at the Hotel Monteleone. Surprisingly, this is a major allure for hotel patrons, as New Orleans is a city that boasts its haunted attractions. The main floor to be wary of is the 14th, where story has it that Maurice Bergere was left with his nanny while his parents attended an opera. While in room 1462 that evening, he developed a fever, starting having convulsions, and died. His spirit was said to oftentimes make an appearance at the hotel, where his parents routinely visited in hopes of seeing their son. It is said that he wanders the halls of the hotel, and is sometimes found playing with another ghost, thought to be the son of the Monteleones who died decades ago when killed by a streetcar. [11]

“You never know what’s going to happen here. It’s never boring,” jokes Andrea Thornton, director of sales and marketing (at the time in 2006), who called in the ghostbusters three years ago after a number of guests reported close encounters in hallways, rooms, and even at the lovely roof-top swimming pool where a young woman fell to her death years ago. [12]

Lagniappe Facts

Truman Capote’s mother stayed at the hotel while pregnant with him, and he always boasted that he was born there. [13] In actuality, she went into labor while at the hotel, but was taken to a nearby hospital. [14]

The drink Vieux Carre was invented in 1938 by Hotel Monteleone bartender Walter Bergeron. [15]

The famous Carousel Bar, opened in 1949, turns at the rate of one revolution every 15 minutes. [16] .

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the hotel served as a safehaven to the hundreds of locals used to doing “vertical evacuations” during hurricane season. [17]

Works Cited

  • “Hotel Monteleone”, The Times Picayune 19 June 1999: 4, obtained from American Italian Museum and Research Library located at 537 South Peters Street New Orleans, LA 70130.
  • Joseph Maselli and Dominic Candelero, Italians in New Orleans, (Charleston, SC, Chicago, IL, Portsmouth NH, San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2004),9,13-15.
  • “New Hotel Addition”, The Daily Picayune 19 April 1902: 3, obtained from New Orleans Public Library located at 219 Loyola Ave. New Orleans, LA 70112.
  • “Hotel Monteleone”, The Times Picayune 19 June 1999: 4-5, obtained from American Italian Museum and Research Library located at 537 South Peters Street New Orleans, LA 70130.
  • “Hotel Monteleone”, The Times Picayune 19 June 1999: 5, obtained from American Italian Museum and Research Library located at 537 South Peters Street New Orleans, LA 70130.
  • “Famous Authors”,www.hotelmonteleone.com.
  • “Famous Authors”,www.hotelmonteleone.com.
  • “A Show to Heal Big Easy’s Soul”, Toronto Star 1 April 2006: A20.
  • “Famous Authors”,www.hotelmonteleone.com.
  • “History: Film, TV”,www.hotelmonteleone.com.
  • “Taking a Spin at a New Orleans Literary Landmark”, Toronto Star 15 April 2006: K08.
  • “Taking a Spin at a New Orleans Literary Landmark”, Toronto Star 15 April 2006: K08.
  • “Hotel Monteleone”, The Times Picayune 19 June 1999: 5, obtained from American Italian Museum and Research Library located at 537 South Peters Street New Orleans, LA 70130.
  • “Taking a Spin at a New Orleans Literary Landmark”, Toronto Star 15 April 2006: K08.
  • “Taking a Spin at a New Orleans Literary Landmark”, Toronto Star 15 April 2006: K08.
  • “A Show to Heal Big Easy’s Soul”, Toronto Star 1 April 2006: A20.
  • “Taking a Spin at a New Orleans Literary Landmark”, Toronto Star 15 April 2006: K08.

This page was last modified on 27 April 2012, at 10:54

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Hotel Monteleone

214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA