Blake Pontchartrain: Exploring the many iterations of the Le Pavillon Hotel | Blake Pontchartrain | Gambit Weekly

Hey Blake,

An old city guidebook I came across mentions the Hotel Denechaud. Where was it located?

Dear reader,

You probably know the Hotel Denechaud by the name it was given in 1970: Le Pavillon Hotel. The hotel at the corner of Poydras and Baronne streets originally opened in 1907.

Born in Bordeaux, France, in 1832, Edward Denechaud opened his first New Orleans hotel in 1884 at the corner of Carondelet and Perdido streets. When Denechaud retired in 1902, his son Justin took over as general manager and supervised construction of the family’s new 225-room, nine-story hotel. Built at a cost of $850,000, the “new” Hotel Denechaud opened at Poydras and Baronne in January 1907.

In 1910, the hotel was sold and renamed Hotel DeSoto. In 1928, the hotel became one of the investors in WDSU Radio, representing the ‘d’ and the ‘s’ in the station’s call letters. The ‘u’ was for the station’s founder, Joseph Uhalt. WDSU’s broadcasting antenna sat atop the DeSoto and its studios were located inside the hotel. The station relocated to the Hotel Monteleone and by 1948 was broadcasting from new studios in the Hibernia Bank building when WDSU-TV signed on the air.

Ownership of the hotel changed hands several times over the decades. Original New Orleans Saints owner John Mecom Jr. was among the investors over the years.

In 1970, the hotel underwent $15 million in renovations and was renamed Le Pavillon. A young chef Paul Prudhomme worked in the hotel restaurant as a sous chef for a short time.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Owned since 2015 by Ashford Hospitality Trust of Dallas, the hotel has a meeting room which still bears the Denechaud name.

This week, we continue our look at the Benny Grunch holiday favorite, “Ain’t Dere No More,” and some of the lost landmarks included in the song.


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