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Originally opened in 1893 by German immigrant Louis Grunewald as The Grunewald, the building at 123 Baronne Street in New Orleans’s French Quarter was renamed The Roosevelt Hotel in 1923 after a series of expansions and acquisitions.

Under the Roosevelt name, the hotel established itself as “the beacon of luxury in the South.” The Grunewald had been home to one of the South’s first Dixieland jazz nightclubs—the Cave—which was reincarnated in the Roosevelt era as the famous Blue Room and Sazerac Bar. Visitors to the Blue Room dined in the popular turn-of-the-century supperclub style, donning their finest to have a great meal and to listen to the music of artists like Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Durante. The Sazerac Bar was named for what is considered to be the South’s “first mixed drink” as well as the official drink of New Orleans and was where the famous southern cocktail known as the Ramos Gin Fizz is rumored to have been created. Legendary Louisiana governor Huey P. Long was known to frequent the Sazerac to have his usual Gin Fizz and to schmooze with his constituents. In fact, in the 1930s, Long used a Roosevelt suite as his Louisiana headquarters and official office when he was physically within the state’s borders, an arrangement made possible by his intimate friendship with the Roosevelt’s long-time manager Seymour Weiss.

The Roosevelt was purchased by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in 1965 and renamed The Fairmont (although many local never referred to it as such). The Fairmont served its New Orleans patrons until 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, when the hotel was forced to close its doors. In 2007, the Hilton Company purchased the building and restored the hotel to its original glory and its most famous name, The Roosevelt. The refurbished hotel opened on July 1, 2009, complete with a restored Blue Room and Sazerac Bar, where its patrons could once again dine in fine style on gulf oysters and other delicacies.

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