The uniqueness of this hotel is apparent from first glance at its iconic fence: a giant, wrought iron design depicting green and yellow cornstalks, ears of corn and all. While a private residence, the cornstalk fence was constructed in the 1850s as a gift to the owner's wife, an Iowan homesick for the fields of the Midwest. Now a small hotel, this 200-year-old property boasts comfortable, historic rooms that have hosted the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elvis Presley, and Bill Clinton. A small staff and close quarters provide guests with a personal (if not informal) experience.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While the house, with only fourteen rooms, has a serious B&B feel to it, a few missing amenities keep it from being one: There is no parlor or dining room here, and the best you’ll get for a meal in the morning is a hot coffee or tea to go.
Rooms are bright and colorful, with ornate wallpaper in shades of gold, burgundy and turquoise, and 14-foot gold leaf ceilings. Chandeliers, fireplaces, and sparse period pieces make these digs feel elegant and historic without being worn down. Each room is a little different: Street-facing rooms at the front have the largest windows, and front rooms on the right side enjoy the mansion's gorgeous stain-glass turret.
Only one of the 14 rooms here is a double, with two queen beds.
Each room has a private bathroom with both original pieces and modern upgrades. All bathrooms have bathtub-shower combinations, though bathtubs are shorter than average (to be expected in a historic location).
There are a few sofas and chairs in the downstairs hallway by the check-in desk, but this narrow area can become easily congested. The property’s best public spaces are outdoors: guests share a wide veranda and plant-covered courtyard downstairs, and a balcony with ample seating and views of Royal Street on the second floor.
No meals are served here, but staff is happy to stash your perishables in a refrigerator in the back kitchen.
The upstairs balcony is a nice place for an evening cocktail, and the inn can provide libation necessities (ice, glasses, corkscrew) upon request. Coffee and tea are available from a small station on the first floor.
The hotel can arrange parking ($35 for valet), but it’s cheaper to find a public garage, or forget driving completely. It’s easiest to get around the French Quarter by foot or pedicab, and four streetcar lines connect you to other desirable parts of the city.
Staying here grants you the perfect chance to make a reservation at Cafe Amelie directly across the street, one of the most romantic and consistently fine restaurants (and gorgeous courtyards) in the Quarter. For more casual fare, pick up a sandwich from Verti Mart (4-minute walk), or a greasy plate of diner classics at any hour from Clover Grill (2-minute walk).
Plan to spend at least one evening at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (2-minute walk), a rowdy pub and piano bar dating back to the 1700s. Walk over to Preservation Hall (4-minute walk), another French Quarter nightlife gem, for nightly live jazz.
WHY WE LIKE IT
While it lacks in amenities, The Cornstalk's location—a quaint section of Royal Street just two blocks from Jackson Square—is certainly desirable, and many will relish in the mansion's old world charm and quirky, historical value.