New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, May 22, 2017
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Orleans Street


717 Orleans Street - Now the Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Locatated between Bourbon and Royal Streets.

717 Orleans Street - Now the Bourbon Orleans Hotel

717 Orleans Street - Then the Orleans Ballroom & Theater

John Davis opened his famed Orleans Ballroom in 1817. Here, for the next twenty years, Davis would indeed make a fortune by catering to the city's love of dancing and balls. Here also, on an adjacent plot of ground, Davis would build his Orleans Theatre and establish French Opera in America, an enterprise that would assure his lasting fame. Along the way he would operate opulent dining and gaming rooms that would by all accounts, equal the best in Europe. But time and circumstance has a way of changing. Davis would eventually lose his enterprise and a bloody war would destroy the city's nightlife. The great ballroom and theatre that Davis built would fall on hard times - an occasional variety show, lack-luster ball or theatrical novelty. Eventually in 1881, the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of African American nuns devoted to teaching, would acquire the property for a motherhood and school. Where once the halls had rung with music and convivial laughter of opera and beleaguers, for the next 83 years only the occasional sounds of a Latin call would be heard. Finally in 1964, the Sisters, pressed by a need for expanded facilities would sell the property to hotel interests. New additions would replace some of the structure built by the nuns but the Orleans Ballroom would remain and begin a life more closely attuned to its opulent beginnings. Sources: http://www.bourbonorleans.com/history.html & http://nutrias.org/~nopl/exhibits/french/orleanst.htm

717 Orleans Street - Then the Orleans Ballroom & Theater