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Last Step





Hotel Monteleone:

A Reflection of New Orleans
Photos and Story by Kathleen Walls

The Monteleone lobby

We all thrill to stories of penniless emigrants sailing into New York Harbor under the shadow of the Stature of Liberty and then making their fortunes in the land of the free. In the 1800s, New Orleans was also one of the main ports of entry for those seeking the American dream. Not all were poor and desperate. One of those travelers was a successful Sicilian shoe manufacturer and minor nobleman, Antonio Monteleone. Already prosperous in Italy, he decided to come to America in search of greater things. In 1886, he bought a 64-room hotel on Royal Street and Iberville in the heart of the French Quarter. Since that day, four generations of Monteleones have loved and cherished Antonio's dream.

Antonio's small hotel has grown to become the nationally recognized 600 room landmark that dominates the 200 block of Rue Royal. It is also recognized as one of the Big Easy's premier hotels.

It has hosted many celebrities. Writers with troubled souls seemed especially drawn to the Monteleone. William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway. Capote claims to have been born at the Monteleone. Technically, he was delivered at a New Orleans hospital but his parents did reside in the hotel when he was born. Williams immortalized the hotel in his The Rose Tattoo. Because of its strong literary heritage, Friends of Libraries USA designated the hotel a Literary Landmark. Only three other hotels share this honor; New York City's Plaza and Algonquin hotels and San Antonio's Menger Hotel.

As might be expected in a hotel with such a rich history, the Hotel Monteleone claims its share of otherworldly souls who like the place too well to let a little thing like their deaths make them check out of this spooktacular hotel. Its spirit residents are verified by the International Society for Paranormal Research. They confirmed at least a dozen resident spirits particularly on the 14th floor (actually the 13th but the hotel skips the number 13 on its elevator).

The Carousel

The hotel is quite European in style as befitting a city as cosmopolitan as New Orleans. Not just in the lobby but throughout. It boasts many luxury touches like marble baths and a rooftop pool that serves as relaxing haven by day and transforms into a romantic oasis at night. One of the most unique touches is the Carousel Bar just off the lobby. It slowly revolves as you sip one (or more) of its innovative cocktails amid its cozy splendor.

In a day of chains, it is a single entity. In a time of corporations, it is still family owned. The same pride that caused Antonio to journey across the ocean to find a dream remains true today under his ancestor Bill Monteleone. Like New Orleans itself, the Monteleone has remained true to its roots and is unlike any other hotel anywhere.

For more information about the Hotel Monteleone:

Hotel Monteleone | 214 Rue Royale | New Orleans, Louisiana | 70130-2201

Phone: (504) 523-3341 | Toll Free: (800) 535-9595 |
[email protected]

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