Named after Count de Pontchartrain of the court of Louis XVI, the Pontchartrain Hotel commenced operations in March, 1927. The grade elevation of the hotel was four feet above mean sea level as of the year 1990 according to a survey by Earth Metrics, while the elevation of the Mississippi River stood at 14 feet (4.3 m) above mean sea level. (Hogan, 1990) An earlier hotel was in operation as early as 1825 as reported by Bernard; this predecessor structure was described as "behind the old fort". (Bernhard, 1828) Noted guests of the Hotel Ponchartrain include Tennessee Williams, (Staggs, 2005) Jose Ferrer, Rita Hayworth (Frommer, 2007), The Doors (Densmore, 1990), and George H. Bush. Williams worked on his classic play Streetcar Named Desire while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. (Staggs, 2005)
The hotel has also had restaurants, producing such notable original dishes as "mile high pie". Pianists with longtime gigs at the hotel have included Tuts Washington and Philip Melancon. Despite some damage from Hurricane Katrina, the hotel reopened afterwards. There was more damage from looting and vandalism than from weather-related factors. (Frommer, 2007)
The 80-year-old hotel building closed for extensive renovations in July 2007, expected to take about a year. However, in July 2008, it was reported that the building would be converted into a residence for retirees. 
In August 2013, the Pontchartrain reopened as a hotel. Its historic Bayou Bar reopened in February 2014.
- LaRose, Greg (July 8, 2008). "Pontchartrain Hotel being converted into senior apartments". New Orleans City Business. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
- Moran, Kate (July 16, 2008). "The Pontchartrain Hotel to return to its roots". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
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- Hogan, C. Michael and Marc Papineau, Earth Metrics Incorporated, Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for the Pontchartrain Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana, Report Number 10456, March 19, 1990
- Bernhard, Travels Through North America, During the Years 1825 and 1826, p 53, G. & C. Carvill, New York (1828)
- Staggs, Sam, When Blanche Met Brando: The Scandalous Story of "A Streetcar Named Desire", p 13, St Martins Press, New York, (2005)
- Densmore, John, Riders on the Storm, Delacorte Press, New York (1990)
- Frommer, New Orleans Travel Guide (2007)