May 4, 2021

In New Orleans, an Art Break Hotel

By Lila Allen

1,038 words

A new inn called Travelers New Orleans gives artists a roof, studio space and pocket money in exchange for some help around the house.

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Refreshed on May 14, 2021 at 8:50:02 am

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  For more than a decade, Mr. Rutledge and a partner had been sitting on an empty lot in the Lower Garden District. The spot was ideal for the project. It was just a few blocks from the Mississippi River, in a section of the city left relatively untouched by Katrina flooding thanks to its high ground, and close to attractions like the marshmallow-pink Grace King House.
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  Designed by OJT, a local architecture office led by Jonathan Tate, the new, three-story building follows certain conventions of the area. Its shape is based on the long, narrow Creole townhouse (though it lacks that style’s steeply pitched roof), and its facade is sand-colored brick, which Mr. Tate praised for its sense of “permanence, but also depth and material richness.” Lap siding made of fiber cement gives a traditional look to the rest of the exterior.
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- The guest entry is through a side courtyard. It opens to a living room filled with eclectic furnishings like a Craftsman-style sofa and rattan-armed loungers. The reception desk (in name only, as check-in is contactless), was built by an architecture professor at Tulane University and is wrapped in cyanotypes, or blueprintlike photos, of fan palms, a spiky, sunburst-like plant.
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+ The guest entry is through a side courtyard. It opens to a living room filled with eclectic furnishings like a Craftsman-style sofa and rattan-armed loungers. The reception desk (in name only, as check-in is contactless), was built by a local woodworker and is wrapped in cyanotypes, or blueprintlike photos, of fan palms, a spiky, sunburst-like plant.
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  In the morning, guests can grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen on the ground floor and read the paper at a jagged-edged communal table. Locals are encouraged to drop by as well, said Mr. Rutledge. “If you need a place to have a card game or you want to hang out and play some music, then come do it.”
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  In guest rooms, which average $185 per night, there isn’t a lace curtain or doily in sight, but natural fiber rugs, fluffy duvets and Danish lounge chairs. Resident artists at Travelers Hotel Clarksdale fabricated the desks and plywood headboards, which are painted a different color by room — cream, ocher, gray and dark blue.
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  “Any artist with a bag full of clothes can walk in the door,” said Shana Betz, a filmmaker who is married to Mr. Babington. The couple moved into Travelers with their 3-year-old daughter in March after an itinerant year. Now they and another tenant, Hannah Richter, a writer, are poised to become co-owners of the limited liability company that manages the hotel. The property will remain under the ownership of Mr. Rutledge and his partners.
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  They hope that Travelers will be a place to help artists reclaim time. Ms. Betz is using hers to work on a television pilot. Mr. Babington said he was looking forward to experimenting with his alarming media in a dedicated studio again.
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- “Having a big space vastly changes what you’re able to do,” he said. (The owners have bought a property down the street for the artists to use.)
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+ “Having a big space vastly changes what you’re able to do,” he said. (The owners have leased a property down the street for the artists to use.)
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  Ms. Richter plans to use her residence to develop a writing portfolio in order to apply to an MFA program. Describing the appeal of Travelers, she went straight to Virginia Woolf: “This is a room of my own where I can live and work without too much distraction.”

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Headlines

  • In New Orleans, an Art Break Hotel

Tags

  • Art
  • Hotels and Travel Lodgings
  • Interior Design and Furnishings
  • New Orleans (La)
  • Travel and Vacations