The history of the Roosevelt’s holiday lights display

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Taking a photo in the Roosevelt Hotel’s lit up lobby has become a holiday tradition for so many. It's like walking in a Waldorf wonderland.

“Generations of families come here during the holiday season. We have thousands of people coming in especially on the weekends on a daily basis, just to either view it or to take pictures. We have lots of people who take wedding pictures, special event pictures here. I have seen proposals in front of the trees and the decorations – so you name it," said Russ Bergeron, the Roosevelt's beverage manager.

The hotel has been elaborately decorating the lobby for nearly a century.

“After the Vicaro brothers bought the hotel in the early '20s, they did an extensive renovation. Specifically the lobby as you see it right now,"  It’s a block long. After that, Seymour Weiss, probably the most famous owner of the hotel, took over complete operations in the '30s – around 1935 and that’s when we started seeing this extravagant decorated lobby, as we’re seeing it right now. Over the year it’s changed."

Bergeron said the archives will reveal decor of the past, like greenery, or cotton candy, pillow-topped arches around the lobby.

So what makes the Roosevelt holiday display so special?

“We’ve got about 20,000 lights here," Bergeron siad. "Three dozen Christmas trees, all flocked obviously. Poinsettas, not just here in the lobby, but all over the hotel, we have dozens and dozens and dozens of those. So it’s a pretty big set up, but I think we have it down to a science now where it’s not as complex as everyone thinks it is. Kind of cool to be a part of this tradition every year and to see smiles on everyone’s faces when they walk in," said Bergeron.


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