It may seem a strange hotel name for visitors to New Orleans, but mention NOPSI to a native and they get it, will usually follow up with a story about visiting the old New Orleans Public Service Inc. building in the city’s Central Business District.
“This place is very important to us as locals,” explained Brett Forshag, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.
Salamander Hotel opens NOPSI in Central Business District
The nine-story NOPSI Hotel at 317 Baronne St. in the heart of New Orleans was once the place to pay electric bills, check out streetcar lines, nab bus fares — even purchase appliances. NOPSI employees changed lightbulbs for customers, helped with light fixtures and performed other services, Forshag said.
“So, people really became connected with NOPSI,” he said. “They were really able to make a connection.”
When Salamander Hotels & Resorts purchased the building and opened NOPSI Hotel in 2017, they wanted their property to resonate with locals as well, Forshag said.
The lobby’s vaulted ceilings, terrazzo floors and dramatic columns are original to the architecturally unique building and much pain was taken to restore the early 20th century design. In the center of the lobby is a counter once used for deposit slips, now offering brochures of the city and spotlighting NOPSI memorabilia. On the walls are both traveling exhibits and NOPSI history.
Off the lobby facing the side street lies a patio available for light snacks and cocktails or relaxing with company, an outdoor space that’s rare for the downtown area, said Matt Owen, corporate director of public relations.
“It’s unique for the Central Business District to have open space like this,” Owen explained.
The hotel offers 217 guest rooms with 76 suites. Each room comes with a stocked fridge and a tray of local products such as Zapp’s Potato Chips produced in the city, a Mardi Gras mask and jars of chocolates and gummy bears. Bathrooms are oversized and include a large bathtub, shower and double vanity, plus high-end bath products.
The hotel’s Public Service restaurant occupies what used to an old savings and loan building next door to NOPSI, helmed by local Chef du Cuisine Farrell Harrison. Dishes include new takes on Creole and Cajun cuisine, such as bourbon-brined honey-glazed chicken wings, Tasso hush puppies and a decadent debris mac and cheese. Local farm produce and animals and fresh-caught seafood make up entrees, such as the Chappapeela Farms pork T-bone with sweet potato gratin and a Creole mustard bordelaise and the pan-seared swordfish with baby squash and Romesco sauce. For vegetarians, there’s the flavorful smoke cauliflower tagliatelle with stone oven-roasted mushrooms and pea tendrils.
Public Service includes a bar that serves up fun appetizers and drinks with a Happy Hour weekdays that attracts the local crowd (the day we visited Louisiana Chef John Folse was in attendance). The lobby features an elegant bar called underCURRENT, as well. For great views of the New Orleans skyline, check out the Above the Grid rooftop bar which includes a small pool and cabanas for lounging.
The Dryades Ballroom marries elegance with industry, featuring crystal chandeliers dangling from exposed steel beams. The ballroom occupies what used to be the NOPSI warehouse where transformers came to be repaired. Visitors can still admire the 24-foot-high cranes and the 30-foot ceilings but also the massive glass walls with dramatic views of the Central Business District.
For more information, visit NOPSIHOtel.com or call (844) 439-1463.
Article written by Cheré Coen.
Pin This Post For Later!
Check out another awesome TTS hotel review:
Disclaimer: Lunch was provided to the writer at the Historic Hotels of America luncheon.