COVINGTON, La. - Step inside the Southern Hotel and you may feel as if you've walked into an art gallery.
It's known as the "crown jewel" of Covington, and has been a landmark for business and pleasure for decades.
Beautiful art by local artists is on display throughout the property, including hand-painted images of historic post cards that adorn the walls of the Cypress Bar.
From the outdoor courtyard to the indoor amenities inside the hotel's 40 luxurious guest rooms and two specialty suites, there's a feeling of relaxation and celebration, and that's a feeling that goes way back.
The hotel was the fanciest place in town when it opened on June 1, 1907.
"And in that point in time, Covington was a resort destination. It was a place where people had their weddings and honeymoons and Sweet 16 parties, and it was beloved for generations by the people who grew up here," says owner and developer Lisa Condrey Ward.
But the historic building wasn't always a hotel. At one point in 1970s it was covered in aluminum and was a Dollar General. It was also a parish building for a while, and during the 1980s it was the only building in America that housed both a bar and courthouse.
Lisa Condrey Ward is committed to keeping Southern Hotel known as "Covington's living room." When she reopened the property in 2014, some say it sparked a renaissance for the community.
Sarah Federer, of the Covington Business Association says the move gave back Covington's crown jewel.
"It's once again the place where people flock," says Federer.