Milestone Includes Ceremony in Typical New Orleans Style, Along with Dignitaries Present and “Past”
At The Roosevelt’s ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30 are (left to right) former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long (played by a local actor); principal owner Sam Friedman of Dimension Development; Alan Rose with Dimension Development; Tod Chambers, general manager of the hotel; Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation); Jackie Clarkson, New Orleans City Council vice president); and Stacy Head, member of the New Orleans City Council.
Also at the ceremony were former President Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by a local actor; Tod Chambers, hotel general manager; Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation; Tim Benolken, senior vice president, also of Hilton Hotels Corporation; Andy Slater, area vice president of Hilton Hotels Corporation); and former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, portrayed by a local actor.
To mark its official return as New Orleans’ grand-hotel and a top American luxury property, Hilton Hotels Corporation executives along with New Orleans dignitaries including two “legends” last seen at the hotel almost three-fourths of a century ago cut the ribbon today to The Roosevelt New Orleans, a downtown landmark.
“Today represents the passion and determination of the people of New Orleans, its city leaders and our ownership to preserving the past while celebrating the future of this great city and iconic hotel,” said Tod Chambers, general manager of the 116-year-old hotel. “Ecstatic, proud and a tremendous sense of accomplishment are words that come to mind.”
Following a $145-million historic restoration that returns the Roosevelt name for the first time since 1965, the hotel is the newest member of the Waldorf Astoria Brand. “The Roosevelt holds a special place in the hearts of New Orleanians and visitors from around the world. Today is definitely a day for celebration.”
Joining Chambers to cut the ribbon was Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation, of which the Waldorf Astoria Brand is the luxury arm.
To be part of the Waldorf Astoria Brand, a hotel must be an iconic local landmark that radiates timeless luxury, impeccable service and world-class style,” Brown said. “The Roosevelt does just that. From its classic elegance and storied venues, such as the Blue Room and the Sazerac Bar, to its incomparably rich history, The Roosevelt is archetypical example of the type of property that characterizes the Waldorf Astoria brand.
“Today’s ceremony is another important milestone in Hilton’s continuing commitment to New Orleans and to the vibrant spirit of this community.”
Other presenters were New Orleans City Council president Jacqueline Brechtel Clarkson and principal owner Sam Friedman of Dimension Development.
Taking to the podium following a downtown motorcade in a 1941 yellow convertible Cadillac coupe once owned by the Vanderbilt family were “Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long” and “U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.” Each was portrayed by a local actor to salute the pair’s connections to the legendary hotel.
Long, a populist governor in the late 1920s and U.S. Senator in the early 1930s until his death in 1935, kept a suite at he hotel for much of his public life and was responsible for tales regarding the hotel that linger today. The name of the hotel, which opened in 1893 as the Grunewald, was changed to The Roosevelt in 1925 in honor of the former President, who also was a frequent guest and whose likeness, complete with spectacles and moustache, still marks one of the hotel’s historic entrances. The hotel bore that moniker until it was renamed the Fairmont in the mid-1960s.
Providing music for the rebirth of the hotel and of the city itself were the Rebirth Brass Band and pianist Ronnie Kole.
The grand hotel boasts 504 rooms, of which 135 are luxury suites, some named for celebrities who once visited the hotel. Other amenities include a comprehensive business center, private dining and suite butler service, an outdoor pool and courtyard, and a specialty gift shop.
The Blue Room also has been restored to its previous splendor and already is serving as a place for families and friends to enjoy good music and food and celebrate life’s special occasions. On Sunday mornings starting in October, the Blue Room will feature a grand brunch complete with delights such as mascarpone-stuffed French toast with house-made satsuma marmalade, boiled Gulf shrimp, a carving table featuring the finest roasted meats and much more.
Guests have the opportunity to enjoy a beverage in the Sazerac Bar and Restaurant, a Roosevelt landmark for decades. The Sazerac Bar serves its signature Sazerac beverage and Ramos Gin Fizz – both invented in New Orleans and made popular worldwide by The Roosevelt and by Long – among other delights. In addition to beverages that stimulate the palate, Sazerac patrons again enjoy the Art Deco-style murals by artist Paul Ninas.
The Roosevelt New Orleans also features nearly 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including three spectacular ballrooms and 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms that span two floors of the hotel.
To take advantage of any of the hotel’s offers, guests and visitors can call 1-800-WALDORF or visit www.therooseveltneworleans.com. For more information about booking any of the rooms, contact Mark Wilson at (504) 648-1200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.