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Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (Royal Orleans Hotel)

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1956–1960, Curtis and Davis, and Koch and Wilson, Architects. 621 St. Louis St.
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

Although the Royal Orleans Hotel’s developers initially selected a design by the firm of Curtis and Davis, the Vieux Carré Commission considered it too contemporary in appearance and thus incompatible with the Quarter’s historic character. Consequently, Koch and Wilson, a firm known for its more traditional approach to design, was hired to design the hotel’s exterior, limiting Curtis and Davis to fashioning the interiors. In its general outline, height, and cornice line, the six-story hotel was modeled architecturally on J. N. B. de Pouilly’s St. Louis Exchange Hotel, which previously stood on this site and where slave auctions once took place under its rotunda. Piers from that building’s granite arcade are incorporated into this hotel’s Chartres Street elevation. The design features pedimented dormers, cast-iron galleries, and fenestration that suggest rooms with high ceilings, although the seemingly tall windows of the second story in fact extend over two low-ceilinged floors. This is an enormous building for the Vieux Carré; it has almost twice as many rooms as the St. Louis had. A mansard roof with dormer windows for additional rooms was added in 1963. Although the Royal Orleans is as tall as the courthouse opposite (OR14), its unobtrusive design, timid details, and historicized appearance enabled the hotel avoid the controversies which marked that building. Most importantly, nothing had been torn down to accommodate it because the site had been vacant for many years. However, the hotel raises crucial questions about issues of historical reproduction and deceptive period appearance as well as appropriate contextual scale.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas
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Data

Timeline

  • 1956

    Built
  • 1963

    Mansard roof added

What's Nearby

Citation

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas, "Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (Royal Orleans Hotel)", [New Orleans, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/LA-02-OR15.

Print Source

buildings of new orleans book

Buildings of New Orleans, Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 31-31.

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