Hotel Monteleone’s rich history starts in Sicily, Italy. We’ve found over the years that our own hotel’s history has coincided with the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

comus postcard

This Krewe of Comus postcard dating from the late 1800s is from around the same time that Antonio Monteleone started our hotel. (Photo by Library of Congress)

A Bold Start

Our founder, Antonio Monteleone, moved from Sicily, Italy during the 1880s. He was part of a wave of Italian immigrants that flocked to the French Quarter in the 19th century. When Antonio arrived in New Orleans, he found a robust Mardi Gras celebration that had seen more than 150 years of fine-tuning (the first reference to Carnival on record in New Orleans is from 1721). Meanwhile back in Italy, a new Carnival celebration was just beginning.

The Monteleone’s timeless interiors decorated for Carnival.

Although there are references to celebrations before Lent in Europe as early as the 1500s, Sicily developed its own version, Carnevale di Acereale, in 1880. Similar to our New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions, Carnevale di Acereale incorporates parades of allegorical floats, with revelers who wear masks and throw confetti.

Changing Times

By 1964, Hotel Monteleone saw a completely new renovation with grand guest rooms, dining rooms, ballrooms, and a cocktail lounge, plus a sky terrace with a rooftop pool under the direction of Bill Monteleone, Antonio’s grandson.

Around the very same time in 1968, another New Orleans businessman had an idea to improve Mardi Gras itself. Owen Edward Brennan invented the Krewe of Bacchus, extending Mardi Gras by an additional weekend, and creating open krewe admission for anyone who wanted to join. This opposed the trend of closed societies and cemented Mardi Gras as an incredible experience, not only for locals but also for visitors who wanted a glimpse of New Orleans culture and tradition.

The world-famous Carousel Bar & Lounge is a great place to cap off your Carnival celebration.

Today’s Celebrations

Are you celebrating Mardi Gras today? Our hotel’s prime location in the French Quarter provides unparalleled access to the best Mardi Gras day celebrations in the city.

Just as Mardi Gras brings an element of excitement and surprise every year, so does our hotel. You’ll be greeted by festive decorations, and after the parades, you can relax at The Carousel Bar & Lounge while you listen to live jazz music from some of our favorite local musicians. Need to fuel up before the revelry? Grab a bite of breakfast and a Bloody Mary at Criollo Restaurant before heading out to the party.

What do the French Quarter and a Sicilian immigrant have in common? Learn more about the deeply intertwined history of Hotel Monteleone and Mardi Gras.