Drury Plaza Hotel New Orleans is located on Poydras Street in the Central Business District — only four blocks from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The St. Charles Street Car runs next to the hotel, connecting passengers to the Garden District and Uptown. Today, this area is known for world-class restaurants, vibrant nightlife, jazz clubs and Cajun culture. In the early 1900s, this area was very similar to the bustling urban corridor it is today.
Drury Plaza Hotel New Orleans occupies the historic Cumberland Telephone Building. When the building was constructed by the Cumberland Telephone Company in 1917, the Times-Picayune declared it “the most attractive building in the city” for its intricate architecture and elaborate gardens. Built of reinforced concrete with a brick exterior, it was trimmed with stone and terra cotta. The interior was finished with bronze doors and marble window sills. Two towers surrounded a recreation area for Cumberland Telephone Company employees, with landscaping and seating areas. The building remained in operation as a telephone switchboard until 1983.
The building sat vacant until 1997 when the Preservation Resource Center, Lafayette Square Association and Louisiana Landmarks Society saved the building from demolition. Drury Hotels restored the brick façade and terra cotta detailing, which is considered a distinctive, rare architectural style in New Orleans. The lobby renovation preserved the high ceilings, large windows, ornamental staircase and Waterford crystal chandeliers and light fixtures.