Each of The Old No. 77's guest rooms is hung with reproductions of original local art — Photo courtesy of Provenance Hotels
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery – the newly re-imagined Ambassador hotel on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Warehouse District of New Orleans – comes by its industrial pedigree honestly.
Home to Top Chef fan favorite Chef Nina Compton and her restaurant Comere Lapin, the 167-room Old No. 77 is set in three restored 19th-century warehouses that originally housed coffee, among other goods.
Warehouse chic might define this artsy neighborhood now, but back in the day, there was nothing fetching about this swathe of riverfront real estate. Instead, it was the 19th-century hub of warehouses used to store grain, coffee and produce shipped through the Port of New Orleans.
Like so many old industrial sites, the neighborhood went south as the city's economy changed. That shifted starting in the 1970s, when restaurants, bars and hotels started reclaiming the soaring spaces.
One big milestone was the 1976 opening of the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), a 10,000-square-foot complex showcasing cutting-edge artwork and an eclectic menu of music, theatre and dance performances that lent an instant cultural cache to the Warehouse District.
To stay in that artsy vein, Old No. 77 – a name borrowed from the former warehouse’s I.D. number – has partnered with the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) to support and showcase emerging artists.
NOCCA, based in the Bywater, boasts a faculty rich with working artists and an illustrious roster of alumni that includes Wynton and Branford Marsalis; Harry Connick, Jr.; and Terence Blanchard.
“New Orleans is a city that is rooted in the arts: NOCCA’s longstanding success is a testament to that fact. We make it a priority to incorporate art that tells a story into all of our hotels,” says Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels, a company known for its marriage of hotel spaces with curated art.
“We are excited to showcase the work of talented students at the hotel and are looking forward to collaborating with NOCCA for many years to come,” Wali adds.
Works by six students were selected to be reproduced and displayed in the hotel. They include Tombstone by Savana Jonau; Parking Lot Girl by Kane Huynh; Heart Break Hotel by Gabrielle Cantelli; Daisy Deuces by Amanda Wilkes; Taking Back What Is Hers by Armand deLaureal; and Trumpets for Eyes, Fur Man and The Study by Monica Catalanotto.
The hotel’s lobby includes a street-facing gallery space with rotating art curated by NOCCA students, faculty and alumni. New works will be rotated in on a schedule that coincides with the Julia Street gallery rotation. And the gallery at The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery will serve as a NOCCA outpost in the heart of the Warehouse Arts District.Located at the intersection of Tchoupitoulas and Lafayette Streets, the hotel is an easy stroll to Harrah's Casino, the French Quarter and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.