On the Road

A Crescent City Icon, Reimagined

By: The Local Palate



New Orleans’ Central Business District (CBD for short) may lack the charm of its French Quarter and Garden District neighbors, but its position in the middle of the city can’t be beat.


Regal and refined with Art Deco details, but comfortable enough that guests feel at home.


For decades following the building’s 1927 opening, New Orleanians made their way, checkbook in hand, to the headquarters of New Orleans Public Service Inc.—NOPSI—to pay their utility bills. Over the years, it became a cornerstone of the community, with its grandiose lobby doubling as an appliance showroom that occasionally hosted cooking programs. The building was vacated in the 1980s when the company became Energy New Orleans. After the space sat dark for thirty years, luxury development group Salamander Hotels initiated a major renovation that left in place original details, from lobby floors and chandeliers to a crane-and-tracks system in the ballroom.

NOPSI houses three bars, each with a distinctive focus and feel (this is New Orleans, after all). Lobby bar Undercurrent nods to Prohibition-era drinking with gin and Champagne cocktails; it’s the choice for pre-dinner drinks when a jazz band sets up shop Thursday through Saturday. Just steps away, the bar inside Public Servicerestaurant favors brown water. And Above the Grid is a rooftop barwith an emphasis on poolside sippers of the daiquiri and swizzle varieties. Day or night, it affords you a unique view of the Crescent City—perched among CBD high-rises. Comemeal time, head back down to Public Service. In a city that knows howto brunch, the restaurant holds up its endof the deal. Benedict riffs are aplenty; Louisiana influence shines in the omelets dubbed Creole (andouille and holy trinity) and Pontchartrain (crab, shrimp, boursin cheese).

As evening approaches, the kitchen’s focus on Gulf Coast seafood and flame-kissed meats is showcased onthe dinner menu, where offerings range from fresh catches and crab cakes to a bone-in pork prime rib with sweet potato tasso croquettes.

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