The next time you travel to New Orleans, plan to stay at a charming historic hotel that is a destination in itself — the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. This ornately furnished gem is only one of three hotels named a literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association. (The others are the Plaza and the Algonquin in NYC). My family and I spent the night there a few nights ago under the same roof that once sheltered Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and a long list of famed southern writers. The Hotel Moteleone wasn’t just a place to hang their hats — it figured into the lives and writings of many literary greats. Here is a sampling:
Nobel prize winner Ernest Hemingway covered the Spanish Civil War as a journalist and the Hotel Monteleone is proudly memorialized in his short story “Night Before Battle”, which takes place during that war.
Truman Capote was fond of telling interviewers that he was born at the Hotel Monteleone. Actually, his mother stayed at the hotel leading up to his birth and the hotel staff transported her to a local hospital to give birth.
Rebecca Wells, author of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, features the Hotel Moteleone in her novel Little Alters Everywhere.
In addition to the Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer Prize, William Faulkner received the Legion of Honor Award and was interviewed at the Hotel Monteleone by New Orleans newspaper columnist, Albert Goldstein. Faulkner biographer Joseph Blotner has written that the Monteleone was Faulkner’s favorite hotel.
Eudora Welty, born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1909, is best known as a Southern writer of short stories and novels (although she also worked professionally as a photographer). During her lifetime she was the recipient of numerous awards, including several O. Henry Awards and the Pulizter Prize. The Hotel Monteleone’s famous Carousel Piano Bar and Lounge is immortalized in her short story, The Purple Hat.
Playwright and novelist Tennessee Williams first visited the Hotel Monteleone as a young child, and always claimed it was his favorite hotel. He was so enamored of it that he included it in his play The Rose Tattoo.