The husband-and-wife team at The Inn at the Old Jail offer a place for travelers to hit the pause button.
The circa-1890s Queen Anne at 2552 Saint Philip St. has been home to a police patrol station and jail, a library and a community center. Most recently, however, it houses a nine-room boutique hotel that plays to its original history. Owners and innkeepers Raul and Liz Canache have lovingly restored the space to highlight the striking architecture and distinct history, reimagining it as The Inn at the Old Jail. The couple welcomes weary travelers, offering a place to get “locked away for good,” as it says on their website. (Visit the site at innattheoldjail.com to view historic photos and pre-renovation images.) Raul and Liz recently visited with Biz New Orleans to tell us more about the space and their family business.
What were your goals for the design?
Raul Canache: My goal was that when you step through the door, you feel that everything you see has been as it is since it was completed in 1902. We did this to honor the history of the building and the New Orleans Police Department.
What was the biggest design challenge and how was it overcome?
Raul Canache: Our greatest challenge was melding my design with the modern construction code restrictions in an historic building. The only way we overcame the differences was by working closely with the historic offices in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. along with the New Orleans fire marshal — a lot of give and take!
What is the standout feature of the design and why does it stand out?
Liz Canache: The standout feature we tried to achieve was retaining the feel of an old Victorian police station and jail, while creating a comfortable and homey living atmosphere for the travelers. To know why it stands out you will just have to walk in the door and stay with us for a bit.
How would you describe Inn at the Old Jail and its core clientele?
Raul Canache: The Inn at the Old Jail is our home where we enjoy receiving our guests with a welcoming atmosphere in a truly historic building within a quiet residential area, drawing, to a large extent, first-responders — police, military and medical personnel — and also European travelers.
How did you offer something different or set yourselves apart from similar businesses in New Orleans?
Liz Canache: Our setup is very unique, being an historic police jail. We also have ample common areas where guests can gather and enjoy each other, such as a family room with the only TV, a lovely library with a baby grand piano, a commercially licensed kitchen available for the guests’ use, a front courtyard and a large rooftop deck with views of the surrounding neighborhood and city.
How do you promote a positive work atmosphere?
Liz Canache: We treat all as if they were family and it is a joy to serve them.
What are your biggest challenges?
Raul Canache: COVID-19 has been a huge challenge.
What goals are you looking to meet in the next 12 months?
Raul Canache: Our goals are to attract business back and rebuild our clientele.
At a Glance
2552 Saint Philip St.
Number of years in business
Started in 2014; Completed most of the work by June of 2017
Approximately 7,100 square feet, plus a 2,500-square-foot rooftop deck
Number of Employees
Persons in Charge
Raul and Liz Canache, owners and innkeepers
Katherine and Liz Harmon of LKHarmon Architects
Furnishings and art
Chosen by the Canaches, primarily from Crescent City Auction Gallery