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Photo From the Past – City Hotel on the Old Bloch Corner 1897-1907

Featured Photograph: The City Hotel in downtown Opelousas was thoroughly modern with bathtubs and other up-to-date conveniences. It operated on the old Bloch Corner from 1897 to 1907. (Photograph from Carola Lillie Hartley Collection.)

CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Publisher and Contributing Writer

During the 1840s Mrs. Ann Meremon (sometimes Miramond) erected a building on prime property in downtown Opelousas. The building was as a memorial to her late husband, a well-known Opelousas merchant who passed away at an early age. She wanted to make sure her husband was not forgotten.

The Meremon Memorial Building was considered one of the most imposing and substantial buildings in the state, and its cost was enormous. The materials for the building were brought by boat from New Orleans, unloaded at the port in Washington and transported to Opelousas. Likewise, the architect and the workmen were from New Orleans. The entire courtyard behind the building was elaborately done with concrete and ornamented with artful masonry. It was the most beautiful property in town.

A dry goods/grocery store operated by the partnership of Bataille and Bigey first occupied the building. When that business moved, Schwartz and Kaufman opened there in July of 1854. By early 1860s, Joseph Bloch operated his business in the building. The Opelousas Patriot newspaper also had an office there.

Bloch remained in business for over thirty years. At that the corner of Main and Bellevue streets was known as Bloch Corner. After Joseph Bloch retired, the City Hotel opened there in 1897, with Arthur Dejean and Adam Budd as owners.  It was called “thoroughly modern, with bathtubs, barber shop, saloon and other up-to-date conveniences.” The rate per day was $2.00, and by 1904, a room at the City Hotel went for only $1.25. The hotel was a popular place, frequently occupied by members of the traveling troupes that performed at the Sandoz Opera House, located just down the next block on Main Street.  By 1906 the hotel closed, and the building was known as Fraternity Hall, used by various fraternal orders of the city for their meetings and social events.

In 1907 the Opelousas Elks Club purchased the building to use as their lodge. It was completely renovated, with new additions, but much of the old building preserved. It was used for all social dances and other activities.

In 1944, the Meremon/Bloch/City Hotel/Elk building was sold to Jake Abdalla. Later that year, a fire destroyed most of the old building. It had to be demolished, and another building erected on that Bellevue and Main Street corner to house Abdalla’s Furniture Store that opened in 1948.

The Abdalla’s Furniture Store building was later occupied by Schiff Furniture and eventually Hargroder Insurance Company. Today the Opelousas City Hall occupies the spot where the City Hotel and other Opelousas businesses once operated, on the old Bloch Corner.