Built as a private residence in 1849,
Lafitte Guest House
(1003 Bourbon St.; 504-581-2678 or 800-331-7971; $179+) is the best of the gay-friendly accommodations -- an elegant ivy-covered 14-unit retreat with fireplaces, some with old-fashioned deep bathtubs.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
(717 Orleans St.; 504-523-2222 or 800-996-3426; $145+) is the most gay-popular mainstream hotel, crawling distance from the big gay bars. It's charming, well-kept, and friendly.
For chic boutique showmanship in the heart of the action, the
W New Orleans-French Quarter
(316 Rue Chartres; 504-581-1200 or 877-W-HOTELS; $199+), with its lovely courtyard pool, glowing fire fountain, and contemporary on-site Italian restaurant, Bacco, gets our vote.
CBD/Warehouse Arts District
Don't judge a hotel by its casino lineage. The 26-story
Harrah's New Orleans Hotel
(228 Poydras St.; 504-533-6000 or 800-HARRAHS; $199+), sits across the street from the gaming action, blissfully blending into the district's historic architecture with tastefully muted colors and regional artwork. Hats off, also, for its efforts to court gay travelers since opening its doors in fall 2006.
The very trendy -- and smoke-free --
(221 Camp St.; 504-553-9550 or 800-633-5770; $179+), has 119 funky, comfortable rooms and a cool candlelit bar (Loa, a voodoo term for divine spirits). The recently renovated penthouses, with their chandeliers and city views, scream Southern decadence. Despite its chic vibe, it's devoid of attitude and worth dropping in for a cocktail just to bask in the contemporary spin on local style.
Value-minded travelers appreciate
The Frenchmen Hotel
(417 Frenchmen St.; 504-948-2166 or 888-365-2775; $99+), a 27-room, pet-friendly and gay popular property near the border of the Quarter with a lovely brick courtyard, small pool, Jacuzzi, and 24-hour concierge. Free continental breakfast included.