Call it payback for nine decades of community support. On November 9, the newly opened luxury NOPSI Hotel will celebrate 90 years of history with the city’s first NOPSI Appreciation Day, featuring 1,000 complimentary streetcar rides courtesy of NOPSI Hotel, a roving reception for former employees and a nostalgic menu at the hotel’s Public Service restaurant.
On November 9, 1927, the building where the hotel is now located originally opened to the community as the new headquarters for the New Orleans Public Service Inc. (NOPSI), the city’s transportation and utility provider. For decades, it employed thousands, served as a community hub and is where generations of residents would stop to pay their household bills.
The building, on the corner of Baronne and Union Streets, subsequently fell into dereliction after utility and transportation services were privatized, but re-emerged this summer as a luxury hotel after a meticulous restoration returned the property to its former splendor under the management of Salamander Hotels & Resorts.
“Many former utility and transit employees still have strong ties to the building and the NOPSI name, and we recognize and appreciate the emotional connection that New Orleans Public Service Inc. had with its community,” said Ellen LeMaire, NOPSI Hotel’s general manager and a Louisiana native. “We are proud to wear the NOPSI name and excited to take this day and give back to the community.”
NOPSI Hotel is celebrating the 90th anniversary with the following activities:
Starting at 7:30 a.m. on November 9, the hotel is providing complimentary streetcar and bus rides for 1000 passengers. Tickets are valid for one-way fares on any Regional Transit Authority (RTA) streetcar, as well as busses. Also, five lucky travelers will also receive a one-month Jazzy Pass worth $55 each.
Tickets will be handed out at:
- Canal at Carrollton streets (Canal Streetcar Line)
- Canal at South Rampart streets (St. Claude Streetcar Line)
- St. Charles Avenue at Napoleon streets (St. Charles Streetcar Line)
- Canal Street at the Aquarium of the Americas (Riverfront Streetcar Line)
From 9 a.m.-5 p.m., former NOPSI employees are invited to the hotel for roving reception, to enjoy refreshments and to share memories about their former place of employment. The hotel is still accepting NOPSI memorabilia items to join its collection, housed in its lobby and meeting wing. An RTA streetcar façade will be on display throughout the day at the hotel, courtesy of the RTA.
On the evening of November 9, 10 and 11, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Public Service, will offer a special “Then and Now” menu showcasing dishes that once graced the pages of the famed NOPSI Creole Cookbook, first published in 1951, along with items from the current restaurant menu. Each diner gets both items in three-course menu, allowing for inventive taste comparison. The three-course menu is priced at $90 for two and includes:
- First Course
- Then: Shrimp and grits newburg
- Now: Blue Crab Dip; Abita amber, green onion, spinach, cream cheese, sea salt crackers
- Second Course
- Then: Bayou style short ribs, creole rice au gratin, cauliflower almondine
- Now: Steak Frites: ribeye cap steak, stilton butter, truffle steak fries, pickled onions
- Final Course
- Then: Charlotte Russe: lady fingers, vanilla custard, luxardo cherry, candied pecan
- Now: Pot de Crème Brule Bienville, Sea salt, bourbon Chantilly
Public Service will also be serving 90 cents shareable plates throughout the day on November 9. They include bourbon wings, tasso hushpuppies, potato skins bravas and fried crab mac ‘n cheese balls.
To make a Public Service preservation, call 504-962-6527 or visit publicservicenola.com. For more information, call NOPSI Hotel at 504.962.6500 or visit NOPSIHotel.com. Follow NOPSI Hotel @nopsihotel on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. NOPSI Hotel is located at 317 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112.