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The Besh Group to oversee renovations of the Caribbean Room at the historic Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue



  Chef John Besh ( will oversee the food and beverage program at the Pontchartrain Hotel (2031 St. Charles Ave.; when the historic strucure reopens next year, the building's owners announced Nov. 2.

  Chicago-based real estate company AJ Capital Partners ( purchased the hotel in January. The Besh group will oversee the renovated Caribbean Room, Bayou Bar, the grab-and-go Silver Whistle coffee shop and a still-unnamed rooftop bar boasting a 270-degree view of the city and the Mississippi River.

  "It's an honor to play a part in shaping the future of a place that holds previous memories for me and so many other locals," Besh said in a prepared statement.

  The hotel was established in the 1927 and attracted icons including Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan also were guests. Following Hurricane Katrina, the property became a luxury apartment building with extended-stay rooms; it shifted back to a hotel in 2013.

  Renovation efforts on the property's restaurant spaces and 106 rooms aim to "maintain the hotel's historical feel while imparting a sense of modern comfort and style as well as the unique personality of New Orleans," according to a press release.

  No opening date has been set for the hotel, but renovations are underway.

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