CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT—A landmark New Orleans hotel received the prestigious "T-Wall Award" from our nation's military Thursday. The Roosevelt Hotel was honored for it's unique role in training the National Guard.
It was an unusual mission for National Guardsmen who are more acquainted with blowing up bombs than greeting guests. In fact, Colonel Johnny Ball tells us, "I thought they were playing a joke," at least at first. But when asked to staff the Joint Visitors Bureau in Baghdad, the Colonel stepped up to the plate. He sent his servicemen and women to the Historic Roosevelt Hotel in Downtown New Orleans. "The Roosevelt said sure thing, it won't be a problem."
General Manager Tod Chambers ensured these troops learned all the tricks of the trade, providing 2 weeks of training and uniforms- without charging a penny. They were trained in several different departments from laundry, to kitchen staff, to bell-hops. It was important to choose a luxury hotel, because they'd be housing some very important guests. When the President, top military brass and other dignitaries visit the region, they all stay at the J.V.B.
Thanks in part to the Roosevelt, they guests be treated to 5-star service during their stay, but service isn't the only luxurious part of the J.V.B. The hotel was formerly one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces and is said to be filled to the brim with gold statues and chandeliers. Not a bad mission for our troops!