The historic headquarters of the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. (NOPSI) — a 1920s-era landmark located in the heart of downtown New Orleans — re-opened its doors this week as the new NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans.
Located in the Central Business District, the nine-story brick building was originally constructed in 1927 as the headquarters for the city’s former utility company and transit operator. Nearly a century after it was built, after a more than $50 million renovation, it has been transformed into the first new luxury hotel in the Crescent City in more than a generation.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, NOPSI Hotel features 217 guestrooms – including 76 suites – a lively and regionally inspired restaurant called Public Service, 14,000 square feet of architecturally significant indoor and outdoor meeting space, and a sophisticated rooftop pool and bar named Above the Grid.
“We are delighted to bring this unique property back to the community. We were drawn to the building’s beauty and history, and our restoration ensures the spirit of this great city is fittingly captured,” said Carl Kuehner, Chairman of Building and Land Technology (BLT), the hotel’s owner and a leading national real estate investor and developer.
Several officials and dignitaries joined Kuehner to cut a ceremonial ribbon, including Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans; Billy Nungesser, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana; Sheila Johnson, Founder & CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, the hotel’s management company; and Ellen LeMaire, NOPSI Hotel’s General Manager.
Dedicated to providing an authentic experience inspired by the rich history of the destination it proudly serves again, NOPSI Hotel underwent a meticulous restoration, which returned the grand dame to its original splendor, including the building’s street facades, cast iron rails and stone panels. Inside the sweeping lobby, guests can discover faithfully renovated vaulted ceilings, graceful arches, ornamental columns, brass grills and stone terrazzo flooring.
“At NOPSI Hotel, service is more than just a word, it’s part of the building’s fabric and complements Salamander’s authentic approach to hospitality,” says Johnson, who is also one of America’s top entrepreneurs and the co-founder of Black Entertainment Television. “NOPSI Hotel will become known as one of the finest city hotels in America, and we look forward to reflecting the unique spirit of New Orleans.”
The property was originally designed by Favrot and Livaudais, a Louisiana-based architectural firm that designed many other historically significant buildings. Woodward Design + Build from New Orleans served as the hotel’s architect of record and general contractor during the renovation process. The project’s development team has also worked closely with Louisiana’s State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the architectural integrity of the building was preserved.
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 major attractions like the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the World War II Museum. Thousands of manhole covers still bear the NOPSI name, which inspired the hotel’s unique circular logo, adding a sense of nostalgia to a walk down many of The Crescent City’s streets.
The hotel’s classically designed guest rooms range in size from 350 to 800 square feet, and feature refined furnishings and artwork inspired by NOPSI’s heritage. Guest bathrooms incorporate a soothing spa-like tile design and oversized, luxurious showers. The ninth floor features the expansive Power Suite as well as four Spa Suites with spacious terraces that can be utilized for an extraordinary in-room Salamander Spa experience.
“Many residents have fond memories of visiting NOPSI, and we understand and appreciate the great responsibility that comes with opening this historic building,” said LeMaire, the hotel’s general manager and a Louisiana native. “To preserve and bring those remembrances back to life, our dynamic team of service professionals stand ready to deliver vibrant, friendly hospitality and an authentic New Orleans experience.”
In addition to a fitness center, concierge services and 24-hour in-room dining, NOPSI Hotel also features memorable event and dining concepts:
Meetings & Events – The hotel boasts 14,000 square feet of historically significant indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the conversion of an adjacent building into the city’s most unique event location: the Dryades Ballroom. At 4,000 square feet, this industrially elegant space boasts impressive arched windows, exposed brick walls, 30-foot ceilings and a preserved 24-foot high crane and track that once transported machinery. NOPSI Hotel also features five vaulted breakout rooms, a charming and regal outdoor patio, and PS Reserve, a unique and private dining space above the hotel’s signature restaurant: Public Service.
Public Service – As the Central Business District’s most dynamic community gathering place, Public Service is a casual-yet-sophisticated restaurant respecting the civic spirit of the former New Orleans Public Service, Inc. With a menu honoring the Gulf Coast’s hard-working fishermen and farmers, Chef Dustin Brien and team prepare contemporary cuisine in an open-display kitchen, highlighted by a modern raw bar and open-flame rotisserie. The vintage design features a two-story glass façade, exposed brick and a custom-built craft bar.
Above the Grid – NOPSI Hotel’s shimmering rooftop pool and bar, Above the Grid, offers a hot spot for hotel guests, visitors and locals with a unique view of the city’s skyline. By day, the pool is a peaceful oasis for hotel guests with indulgent cabana service. In the evening, the energy level increases and the setting transforms into one of New Orleans’ coolest scenes.
UnderCURRENT Bar & Patio – Located in the hotel’s classic lobby, underCURRENT Bar & Patio features iconic, vaulted ceilings as the quintessential backdrop for light snacks and an afternoon cocktail experience. Patio guests can enjoy “life as a local” surrounded by wrought-iron accents reminiscent of a Crescent City courtyard.
Visit nopsihotel.com for more info.