The Columns Hotel
A once-private residence imbued with faded grandeur.
This hotel was built in an opulent Italianate style in 1883. Locals meet for drinks on its huge front porch that, flanked by the hotel's namesake columns, faces St. Charles Avenue. The historic yet lived-in look inspired director Louis Malle to film "Pretty Baby" here in the 1970s. The hotel has a cult-like following of guests who return year after year, booking their rooms for Carnival and the Jazz & Heritage Festival twelve months in advance. The wood-paneled Victorian entrance hallway is lined with alluring parlors and ends in a dramatic curving staircase. Although some of the smaller guest rooms share a hall bathroom, several have private baths with old claw-foot tubs. All twenty accommodations are furnished with antiques and some have fireplaces. The place is so graciously past its prime that it drips with the elegant decadence that is part of the city's charm. There is live jazz in the wonderful Victorian Lounge bar most weekends.