Recently the New Orleans City Council took the first step toward cutting back on the number of short-term rentals allowed to operate in the city, moving forward with a plan that would require owners to live on the site of any residential properties being rented to tourists.
This will not be a change at all for Laura and Eliot Kamenitz, who began their bed and breakfast business, The Laurel Bed and Breakfast, in 1996. They own a 1924 raised cottage-style house in Mid-City just a block or so from Bayou St. John. Laura is a retired chemical engineer and Eliot is a retired professional photographer who spent years working for the Times Picayune capturing the city’s newsworthy events and abiding culture.
The Laurel is licensed with the City of New Orleans and is a member of the Professional Innkeepers of New Orleans. It is a one-suite bed and breakfast with private bath and sumptuous sunroom. Laura’s work took her around the world, so the suite’s decor includes pieces from such places as Indonesia and Bali. Plus, the couple actively support local artists so many New Orleans artists’ works grace their walls.
Laura says the business has not made the couple fabulously wealthy but it's certainly not a hobby as The Laurel, throughout the years has averaged a 33 percent occupancy.
“It pays for itself, and repairs and upgrades can be written off,” she says.
A stay at The Laurel is $120 per night with a minimum stay of two days. There’s also a double-size sleeper sofa in the sunroom. To start their guests’ day, the Kamenitzes offer croissants, muffins, coffee cake, New Orleans coffee and chicory and orange juice.
Laura admits to being gregarious and says she treats her business a bit like a cultural exchange where she enjoys sharing what she loves about her city. She also prides herself in the fact that she’s never told phony ghost stories to her guests, some of whom she’s accommodated for more than seven years.
“We’ve become friends with them and sometimes, honestly, I feel guilty charging them.”
Guests are also greeted and entertained by the couple’s three rescue cats: Ranger, Billy and Koshka. Worth noting: Koshka was born and rescued while Laura was working in Russia and he thoroughly loves all boxes and every morning Billy demands to help Eliot drive the car around the block.
Molly Byrd was looking for a laid-back anniversary getaway for she and her wife, Heidi, when she discovered the bed and breakfast.
“My wife and I are avid art and photography fans and loved the decor of The Laurel B&B,” she says. “Eliot has amazing photos he’s taken and the rest of the art and other quaint knickknacks they have around the house brings out its uniqueness and charm. Laura and Eliot gave us great recommendations on activities, food and movies for our stay and were the perfect hosts.”
Laura says she’s always working to make the bed and breakfast experience even more pleasurable for her guests. For example, the couple recently added a teal blue fence to the property to make a private yard for the suite.
“I just always want to make things better,” she says. “We also have a brand new very slick website – out with the old dinosaur and in with the new.”
The Laurel Bed and Breakfast
3626 Delgado Drive
Reservations via direct phone calls, VRBO, FlipKey and AirBnB