New Orleans Hotel Revives Lobby Christmas Display

New Orleans Hotel Revives Lobby Christmas Display
November 30, 2009
ABC News

The historic Roosevelt Hotel is bringing back its famous Christmas lobby display, but with a new look.

The hotel recently reopened after a $145 million renovation to repair damage from Hurricane Katrina. The Christmas display, which runs Dec. 1-Jan. 4, includes 20 birch trees reaching to the 20-foot ceiling, a canopy of white birch branches decorated with thousands of lights, along with 26 Douglas fir Christmas trees, trimmed with gold ornaments, bows and lights. All the trees are flocked, which means their boughs are dusted with white to resemble snow.

Visitors will also find poinsettias and other holiday decorations throughout the lobby, along with weekday choir performances. The block-long lobby is open to the public and there is no charge to see the display.

The Christmas decorating tradition at the Roosevelt dates to the 1940s, when the hotel created an "Angel Hair Lobby" by covering the ceiling with white angel hair, glowing lights and hanging ornaments, and filling the lobby with Christmas trees, toys, wrapped presents, elves and angels.

The custom was eventually stopped, then brought back in 1994 and continued until Hurricane Katrina closed the hotel.

The new Christmas display is "very charming and a bit more sophisticated now," said sales and marketing director Mark Wilson. "The lobby has been restored to its 1940s elegance and the Christmas decorations will compliment that."

The hotel has also revived its Teddy Bear Tea tradition. Beginning on Dec. 5, there will be two seatings each day for guests and their children for a special tea party featuring children's menu items which may include some combination of hot chocolate, scones, pizza and petite sandwiches, as well as traditional tea, a cash bar and a menu for adults.

Each child will receive a teddy bear upon arrival. Entertainment will include storytellers and trumpeters, as well as appearances by Santa, his elves and Mrs. Claus. Framed, commemorative photos with Santa will be available at an additional cost. Tickets for Teddy Bear Tea are $49 for adults and $34 for children 10 years and younger, plus tax and gratuity.

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