New Orleans' new NOPSI Hotel emphasizes history and heritage

Nine decades after it was originally built, the historic headquarters of the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. is slated reopen its doors on July 6 as the NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans, an adaptive-reuse project that emphasizes the original structure's history and heritage. The historic angle has already paid off: In January, the hotel joined Historic Hotels of America

Located in New Orleans' central business district, the nine-story brick building was originally constructed in 1927 by New Orleans’ former utility company and transit operator. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, NOPSI Hotel now has 217 guestrooms—including 76 suites—a regionally inspired restaurant, 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and a rooftop pool and bar.

The hotel's renovation returned each space of the property to its original aesthetic including the building’s street facades, cast-iron rails and stone panels. The lobby has renovated vaulted ceilings, arches, ornamental columns, brass grills and stone terrazzo flooring.

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The hotel’s ballroom will have arched windows and 30-foot ceilings to emphasize the historic significance of the public building. The renovation retained the room’s 24-foot-high crane and tracks, which once transported transformers to storage vaults for repair. 

The hotel’s guestrooms range in size from 350 to 800 square feet, and include updated furnishings and local artwork. Guest bathrooms incorporate a spa-like tile design and oversized showers. The ninth floor inclides the Power Suite, as well as four Spa Suites with terraces.  

The property’s owner is Building and Land Technology, a national real estate investor and developer, while the hotel’s architect of record and general contractor is New Orleans-based Woodward Design + Build. The NOPSI Hotel is managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, founded by Sheila Johnson. The hotel, reportedly the first luxury property to open in New Orleans in a generation, is led by GM Ellen LeMaire, a Louisiana native.

Within a short walk of The French Quarter, The Warehouse District and The Garden District, NOPSI Hotel is located near Lafayette Square and close to attractions such as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the World War II Museum. Thousands of manhole covers still bear the NOPSI name, which inspired the hotel’s logo.

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