Monteleone mosaic at Angela King Gallery

Mosaic tiles in the doorway at Angela King Gallery remind passersby that the location once was a shoe shop belonging to the man who eventually opened the Hotel Monteleone.

Hey Blake,

On the sidewalk entrance of a building at Royal and Bienville streets, there is a tile mosaic with a crest featuring the Monteleone name. What’s the connection to the Hotel Monteleone across the street?

Dear reader,

Antonio Monteleone was born in Sicily in 1855 and moved to New Orleans in the 1880s. He worked as a shoemaker in the French Quarter, which at the time was home to a large number of Italian immigrants.

His 1913 front page obituary in the Daily Picayune said that Monteleone opened a shoe store at St. Louis and Royal streets before opening a larger store at Conti and Royal streets, then renting a building at Bienville and Royal streets. The mosaic tile you noticed in the doorway there includes his family’s crest, which also is incorporated into the logo of Hotel Monteleone.

In 1886, Monteleone acquired land on Royal Street which would become the site of the hotel. His first hotel was a three-story townhouse at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets called the Hotel Victor, later called the Commercial Hotel. Monteleone operated a shoe store and factory on the ground floor and hotel rooms occupied the upper levels.

At the turn of the century, Monteleone expanded the hotel’s footprint by purchasing nearby properties. The building we now see was built by contractor George Glover, who also built the Saenger Theatre and D.H. Holmes department store.

The expanded hotel, then known as Hotel Monteleone, welcomed its first guests in 1908. When Monteleone died five years later while traveling in Europe, the New Orleans Item called him “one of the best-known citizens of New Orleans.” His hotel remains family-owned and is registered as an historic landmark.

The building at 241 Royal St. that once housed his shoe store and still features the family crest in mosaic tile now houses Angela King Gallery.