New Orleans’ Caesars casino to unveil a huge new cocktail lounge. Here’s a sneak peek.

The transformation of the former Harrah’s Casino into a Caesars property has been a giant construction project, marked by a new hotel tower rising above it and new restaurants from big-name chefs within. Right in the midst of it all, though, Caesars has also been quietly cooking up a big surprise.

Octavia is the name for a new lounge inside the casino, one conceived on a sweeping scale and with an elegant Art Deco-inspired design. It’s a massive new addition to the casino taking shape just behind temporary walls, even as gaming goes on 24/7 just a dice roll away.

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Octavia is a the forthcoming cocktail lounge at Caesars in downtown New Orleans, and a centerpiece of the casino.(Contributed image)

Octavia is set to debut in mid-August.

When it opens, visitors will walk through any one of eight entrances to find a soaring space with games along the perimeter, clusters of lounge seating and a large bar in the center. Above that bar will be a glass installation descending from the ceiling two stories above, a piece that all on its own is estimated to cost some $750,000.

octavia construction
The lounge Octavia, under construction here in June 2024, will be a centerpiece for the new Caesars casino in downtown New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, | The Times-Picayune)

Octavia will cover 13,000 square feet and can accommodate 600 people. Crews from local builder Ryan Gootee General Contractors are putting final phases of the project in place now.

Replacing Masquerade

It’s taking the place of the former Harrah’s Masquerade “ultra lounge,” but it’s intended to have a more upscale ambiance and a different role than it’s dark and clubby predecessor. It will be a centerpiece of the new casino, and one of the first things visitors see from the property’s main entrance, situated by the valet parking area and forthcoming hotel.

A rendering of the new 340-room hotel as part of revamp of Harrah’s, which will be renamed Caesars New Orleans. The hotel and other upgrades are expected to be completed by 2024. Photo provided by Caesars Entertainment

That hotel, a new 15-floor tower of 340 rooms, is part of the casino’s overall transformation. So is the new Japanese restaurant Nobu, from sushi master Nobu Matsuhisa. Also slated to open this summer (and taking reservations for dates after Aug. 15), Nobu is located adjacent to, though separate from, Octavia.

Sushi Dishes at Nobu
Salmon and scallop sushi dishes are part of the menu at Nobu inside Caesars casino. (Contributed photo)

As part of the casino, Octavia will be open to people age 21 and over (the restaurant Emeril’s Brasserie is all ages, as will be Nobu).

A logo for Octavia, the cocktail lounge inside Caesars casino in downtown New Orleans. (Contributed image)

The name Octavia was chosen for its intersection of different meanings. The female form for the Latin word eighth, it was the name of Julius Caesar’s grand-niece. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, a signal of prosperity. The casino’s address happens to be 8 Canal St. And New Orleans has an Octavia Street running Uptown from the riverfront.

Octavia won’t serve food, but it is close by the casino’s restaurants, especially the food hall concept, with fast casual options from local chef Nina Compton and Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Buddy Valastro.

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