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INN AT THE OLD JAIL IS NOW RANKED IN THE TOP 50 SMALL ACCOMMODATIONS IN LOUISIANA!

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Take a virtual tour of our Inn, here.

Would you stay a night inside this haunted old jail in New Orleans?

From The Louisiana Weekend.

Before innkeepers Liz and Raul Canache resurrected the Inn at the Old Jail, it was built as a New Orleans police jail and patrol station in 1902.

But is this historic Treme building also haunted?

New Orleans psychic medium Cari Roy said she senses lingering spirits and energy.

“The older a building is, the more apt it is to have paranormal activity,” Roy said.

The Inn at the Old Jail is a two-story, Queen Anne-style building and one of five neighborhood police jails built in New Orleans during Mayor Paul Capdeville’s term from 1900 to 1904. The building also is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Roy says she can still feel the presence of people who worked during the building’s time as a jail.

“This was a hubbub of activity in the neighborhood and a lot of the energy and the presences of the people who worked here still linger,” Roy said.

As both a psychic and a medium, Roy walks through the building to get impressions of entities while using equipment common for paranormal investigations.

“I can communicate with the energy and the entities that are here,” Roy said. “And then, what we do is that we verify that the things that I am picking up are accurate historically.”

In a room on the first floor called “The Cage,” Roy said she sensed one spirit who was possibly a neighborhood drunk who was a regular in the drunk tank until he sobered up. Roy describes the presence as a dandy, well-dressed, tall man.

nside the room, with high ceilings and original exposed brick, the bathroom was the actual “cage” back in the day. The Cage dates to the 1940s, when misbehaving neighborhood teens were “held” in this space until their parents picked them up, according to the website.

You can also see the name “Charlie” carved into the shower wall.

“In this building, you can feel cold spots, which are often indicative of there being a paranormal presence,” Roy said.

Another spirit is described as “benevolent” maybe “a captain who is still lingering and watching over everything,” Roy said.

Innkeeper Raul Canache said some guests have also expressed feeling watched. Canache said one guest reported walking up in the middle of the night feeling she saw something in her room.

“The next morning, she told me she had woke up with a man watching over her, literally watching over her,” Canache said. “She wasn’t scared because the person, or the entity that she saw on top of her, looking down on her was a benevolent type of person.”

Canache said this experience took place in the Robinson room, which is located on the first floor. The innkeeper said he has also felt a sense of being watched and changed in temperature while working nights.

“You feel like you’re being watched, but at the same time, you feel like you’re being cared for,” Canache said.

“I feel that pretty much the whole place, you can feel that sense of protection,” Roy said.

Thank you from Russ and Amy

Thank you for the great hospitality and wonderful accommodations we experienced during my 50th birthday stay at the Old Jail. It was truly and amazing time. We were all so comfortable at the Old Jail and it really felt like home from the minute we walked in. Going into my 27th year in law enforcement, I could not have thought of a better atmosphere to spend our trip. I really appropriate all you have done in the restoration process and tribute to law enforcement. In a world where first responders rarely receive much recognition, you all have gone above and beyond. I wish we would have had time to discuss my deep ties to Louisianan and NOLA particularity, so we will have to be back and I will bring photos to show you how I have been tied to that area first as a child and then as a first responder for the Postal Inspection Service. I will be promoting your Jail stay to everyone I know and hope you stay fully booked for years to come. Next time I will cook some of my Texas favorite meals. I have enclosed a patch from my agency and a special coin form my team here in San Antonio. Feel free to display them if you like. Thank you again for the great trip.

Award Winning Preservation Projects in New Orleans

“The 2018 Louisiana Landmarks Society Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation honors 22 exceptional projects in New Orleans. These awards honor projects completed in Orleans Parish in 2017, which represent outstanding examples of restoration or rehabilitation of historic buildings and new construction. ” 

Liz and Raul Canache, owners; LK Harmon Architects; Bernardio Marcia, contractor

Vacant since Hurricane Katrina and owned by the City of New Orleans in 2010 when named to Lousiana Landmarks Society’s New Orleans’ Nine Most Endangered Sites, this striking 1902 Queen Anne style structure, which housed a Police Jail and Patrol Center, was a victim of extreme demolition by neglect. In 2013, the building was auctioned to the winning owners, whose plans to turn the property into a bed and breakfast establishment were unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission in 2015. The Old Jail now operates as an inn to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

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Ghost Hunt At The Inn At The Old Jail

Happy Halloween!

Owners of St. Philip Street police station want to turn it into bed and breakfast

When Liz Canache first laid eyes on the “Police Jail and Patrol Station” built in the turn of the 20th century in Esplanade Ridge, she knew she had to buy it.

The 6,291-square foot Queen Anne and French Renaissance Revival-style building, located at 2552 St. Philip Street, was falling apart. The structure had crumbled around the 111-year-old facade, leaving it exposed to drug dealers and criminals who frequented the area, Canache said. And she had a plan to save it.

Now, Canache and her husband have started a new hospitality company, aptly named “Down By Law.” If her plan goes accordingly, the pair will next year be opening “Inn at the Police Jail and Patrol Station,” a bed-and-breakfast designed to hold nine guest rooms.

“The point is to bring back the neighborhood’s heritage and save something from falling down, which is where the building was headed,” Canache told Mid-City Messenger.

However, her plan may have hit an obstacle. She and her husband need to get zoning changes approved by the city in order to construct the commercial building. According to her application with the City Planning Commission, however, “the site cannot be used as a bed and breakfast” because it doesn’t fit the definition, which requires that structures only be single-family or two-family residences.

Moreover, bed-and-breakfasts require owner occupancy, as proved by a homestead exemption, according to the application.

“The proposed bed and breakfast does not meet these requirements because the structure was originally used as an institutional facility, not a single or two-family residence, and because the structure is owned by a limited liability company, which cannot obtain a homestead exemption,” city planners wrote.

In her plans, however, Canache said she wants to use the building as a community space, too. Common rooms would be designated for after-school homework help for students, and Spanish classes for all ages. A former schoolteacher, she said she plans to instruct some of these classes herself, and may hire teachers to do the rest.

According to her application, city planners do recommend something called a “modified approval” of the zoning requests, which would grant a conditional use to permit a community center.

Her application is slated to go before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday.

Canache and her husband also plan to live in the building, but the building has to undergo extensive renovations before it can become inhabitable, she said. According to a September 2012 appraisal done by Stegall, Benson and Associates, LLC for the city of New Orleans, the old jail is “in very poor condition,” with “substantial flooding and roof damage.”

The building was given a market value of $175,000 nearly two years ago, but Canache estimates that renovation costs could run her anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000. The building is part of both the Esplanade Ridge Historic District and the Bayou Road African American Heritage Cultural District, however, making it eligible for tax credits.

“It’s a large undertaking,” Canache said. “It’s not inhabitable right now.”

Canache is currently living in the area, and says she’s been in communication with neighbors about the proposed project. According to the application submitted to the City Planning Commission, at least some residents seemed excited about the prospect.

At a neighborhood meeting, some residents expressed concern about parking, safety of the neighborhood and how this zoning change, if approved, would affect other zoning requests, according to the application. However, while there were several letters in support of the project, no neighbors wrote letters of concern against it.

“I have always loved this building and we wish you success with your B&B,” wrote resident Neal Morris. “We support your zoning change.”

Neighbors Theresa Galli and Gavin Cady agreed.

“As we are close neighbors to this project, we are excited to see the old jail and police station developed rather than continue to lay vacant,” they wrote.

In 2010, the building was placed on the Louisiana Landmark Society’s annual list of the nine most endangered historical sites in New Orleans.

The jail and substation was built by Captian William Joseph Hardee, a City Engineer who took office in 1899, according to an article written for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans.

Hardee described the patrol station as “one of the handsomest, artistically and structurally, of any of the city’s public buildings.”

The small patrol station was built at the same time as the House of Detention at the corner of Tulane and Broad, and was meant to serve as a satellite location for the larger site, according to the blog. It was built during a time when city officials were updating New Orleans infrastructure, and modernizing its jail facilities, sewerage systems and roads.

The station occupied the first floor, and jail cells were located on the second floor and back wing. By 1951 the brick and terra cota building was converted into a library and community center, according to the the Preservation Resource Center.

The building had been owned since by the city, and had stood vacant since Hurricane Katrina.

Article courtesy of  Della Hasselle of Mid City Messenger. 

This Jail House Rocks

Story courtesy of Danielle Del Sol at Preservation in Print.

Preservation in Print first reported on Liz and Raul Canache’s purchase of a former Tremé police station at 2552 Saint Philip St. from a 2014 City auction in its November 2015 issue, and PRC was fortunate enough to host a happy hour there that same month so readers could explore the circa 1903 structure. The station’s pink exterior was still beautiful, but the bed and breakfast envisioned by the Canache’s took effort to imagine in the raw interior space. Less than two years later, the building’s transformation into The Inn at the Old Jail is jaw dropping.

The renovation has been completed almost entirely by Raul himself. Nearly every square inch of the building required attention — from the flooring to walls to staircases, to an outdoor roof space that has been transformed into a large deck. But on top of those expansive updates, Raul crafted ornate details from wood and iron to enliven every space, like treasures for the careful observer to uncover and delight in.Glossy wood wainscoting and chair rails were milled from wood salvaged from dumpsters. Slate baseboards and bathroom features were created from former roof tile. And wide, worn planks of wood salvaged from other parts of the building now serve as floorboards in parts of the structure. Raul’s creativity extends beyond that, though. He welded fanciful iron grates to cover vents so as to avoid using standard hardware store grates. He stalked historic furniture pieces at local auctions, acquiring incredible armoires, mirrors and other items for bargain prices. He hand-milled heavy, elegant doors from salvaged wood. Ivory columns purchased from the Green Project cleverly cover pipes and wires in several rooms. And he hand-mixed paint for the walls to recreate colors he remembers and loves from his native Venezuela that he simply couldn’t find in stores here.

Liz’s creativity has led to programming in the building that will extend beyond their small business. She has dubbed a room at the front of the building the “Bechet Library” after Yvonne Bechet, the first African-American woman commander of the New Orleans Police Department. Books about New Orleans history are stacked around the room, as are children’s books, which Liz is collecting to use as part of an after-school and summer reading program she will host for neighborhood kids. “When we found this building, our thought was, ‘How can we bless the neighborhood?’” Liz said. Hosting neighborhood kids will be one way; promoting local artists by adorning the inn’s walls with art that’s for sale will be another. The NOPD also approached the Canache’s with the idea of creating a small police museum in the building, which they excitedly agreed to. Off of the reception area is a commercial kitchen that is designated for use by the inn’s guests. The Canache’s themselves spent two decades traveling around South America, raising several children on the road, and they hope that the same kinds of travelers will utilize their B&B. They have also been in talks with the nearby V.A. Hospital about hosting families of long-term care patients for extended stays. Some rooms have one bed, others have several beds and are big enough to accommodate whole families.

A communal living room at the back of the first floor has comfy couches, games and a television for guests. The building pays homage to its former occupants; all of the guest rooms are named in honor of policemen who worked in the station or who perished in the line of duty.  The renovation of the building will garner the couple state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, a much-needed offset for the over $1 million renovation price tag. Though the Canache’s were thrifty throughout the process, fire safety codes and other requirements necessitated costly building alterations. The couple was determined not to cut corners, however, leading one inspector to joke that theirs is “the safest building in the city.”Guests can stay in one of nine rooms, in beds that Raul milled himself from — you guessed it — salvaged wood. Find out more by calling 504.301.5743. –Danielle Del Sol, photos by Liz Jurey

St. Philip Street police station from 1902 auctioned

A “Police Jail and Patrol Station” built in the turn of the 20th century in the Esplanade Ridge neighborhood was auctioned off  Friday, according to city officials.

The 6,291-square foot Queen Anne and French Renaissance Revival-style building, located at 2552 St. Philip Street, was given a market value of $175,000 in September 2012.  It is “in very poor condition,” with “substantial flooding and roof damage,” according to an appraisal done by Stegall, Benson and Associates, LLC for the city of New Orleans.

According to Tyler Gamble, the city’s press secretary, Liz and Raul Canache purchased the property.

Real estate agent Mike Medof confirmed Monday that private buyers purchased the property for the appraised amount. Details about the intended use of the property weren’t immediately made available, but according to the appraisal, “the subject site could be developed with any number of uses allowed by zoning.”

The Two Family Residential District zoning classification of the old police station allows for numerous residential or institutional uses, including schools and churches, according to the appraisal.

The building was placed on the Louisiana Landmark Society’s annual list of the nine most endangered historical sites in New Orleans in 2010. The list is created to make the public aware of historic places threatened by demolition, deterioration or other disrepair.

The building is part of both the Esplanade Ridge Historic District and the Bayou Road African American Heritage Cultural District, making it eligible for tax credits of 50 percent of rehabilitation costs.

The jail and substation was built by Captian William Joseph Hardee, a City Engineer who took office in 1899, according to an article written for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans.

Hardee described the patrol station as “one of the handsomest, artistically and structurally, of any of the city’s public buildings,” according to the article.

The St. Philip Street facility was built during a time of infrastructural progress in New Orleans, when city officials made efforts to modernize its jail facilities, sewerage systems and roads. The small patrol station was built at the same time as the House of Detention at the corner of Tulane and Broad, and was meant to serve as a satellite location for the larger site, according to the blog.

The station occupied the first floor, and jail cells were located on the second floor and back wing, but by 1951 the brick and terra cota building was converted into a library and community center, according to the the Preservation Resource Center.

The building had been owned since by the city, and had stood vacant since Hurricane Katrina.

“Years of deferred maintenance are taking their toll from plants growing from cracks in the façade to exposure to the elements,” the Preservation Resource Center blog, written in 2010, said.

Also on Friday, an old police station on 6038 St. Claude Street in Holy Cross neighborhood was auctioned off for $31,500, as was a building on 801 Rosedale Drive in the City Park area, for $105,000, according to the city.

This article was originally published at 11:05 a.m. on Monday, and updated at 11:55 a.m. to include the names of the new owners of the 2552 St. Philip Street property.