In the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans stands a majestic old hotel with one of the most famous bars in the city. In the late 19th century, Sicilian immigrant, Antonio Monteleone, an industrial nobleman heard promising stories of the United States and decided to move to the new country. This move brought him to New Orleans where he opened a cobbler shop on Royal Street, then the main thoroughfare of banking and commerce in the Quarter.In 1886, Mr Monteleone purchased a 64-room hotel on the corner of Royal and Iberville Streets and before long, the nearby Commercial Hotel was available for sale and Antonio was able to acquire that property as well, expanding his existing hotel. It was then that the hotel started to become what it is still to this day: one of the last great family owned hotels in the city.
Over the years more additions were made to the hotel by various family members, with the largest occurring in 1954 requiring the razing of the original hotel building to allow for the creation of ballrooms, dining rooms, guestrooms and cocktail lounges. In 1908, the hotel’s name changed from Commercial Hotel to Hotel Monteleone.
Of course a hotel as famous as this one, is not without it’s haunted tales.
Phyllis Paulsen, a guest at the hotel, was visited one morning by a three-year old boy wearing a striped shirt who emerged from her sitting room on the 14th floor. Paulsen says, “one moment he was there and the next he was gone.” When Ms. Paulsen went to check, the door was securely closed. This story of the young boy is consistent with many others from guests. Legend has it that he is the son of Josephine and Jacques Begere who stayed at the hotel in the late 1800s. Their son Maurice was left with his nanny while his parents went to the opera. When returning to the hotel, the horses were startled, sending Jacques from the buggy and killing him. It is said that Josephine died within a year of a broken heart. Some believe little Maurice roams the hotel in search of his parents who stayed on the 14th floor.