Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana’s towering Capitol building is America’s tallest and one of the most impressive. Forever entwined with the political career of Huey Pierce Long, the building shows off the Art Deco grandeur of the 1930’s despite being built in the Great Depression.


Baton Rouge State CapitalLouisiana State Capitol Building

The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge was built in the early 1930s at the height of the Great Depression to a tune of $5 million ($68 million today) in 29 months. The construction of the building and the Old Governor’s Mansion was the result of Huey P. Long efforts during his run for Governor as part of his grand vision for Louisiana. The State Capitol Building became his most visible legacy and the site he was assassinated and buried.

The building is an excellent example of classicism with Art Deco details that were in vogue for monumental buildings in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.  The building exterior has plenty of symbolism in the limestone representing the history of Louisiana.

The front doors to the Capitol are reached by a “monumental stairway” consisting of 49 granite steps. Each step has engraved the name of a U.S. state in the order of its statehood. Alaska and Hawaii, which were admitted after the completion of the Capitol, are both on the last step along with the phrase “E pluribus unum”.

Louisiana State Capitol Stairs

Flanking both sides of the stairs are free-standing, limestone sculptures by Lorado Taft entitled Pioneers and Patriots, memorializing both the early settlers and defenders of Louisiana.

Louisiana State Capitol Exterior Statues

Louisiana State Capitol Exterior Statues


Louisiana State Capitol Memorial Hall

Self-guided tours are free, so feel free to explore the public areas of the building. Entering the four-story high lobby, you will be transported back into the world of 1930’s Art Deco. The rectangular Memorial Hall is commonly called the Rotunda even though it is not round. Mounted on the balcony over the elevator banks are the flags of the entities that have held dominion over Louisiana (See Sights in Baton Rouge to see the list). There is also a large central bronze plaque in the center of the hall depicting a relief map showing parish boundaries and seats, industries and exports, and the flora and fauna of Louisiana.

Louisiana State Capitol Memorial Hall

The Hall also features two striking Art Deco murals on either end depicting Louisiana as a land of plenty.

The mural on the east wall is named the “Goddess of Knowledge and Time.” The central figure holds a zodiac in one hand and an hourglass in the other. Harvest scenes make up the background.

Louisiana State Capitol Art Deco Mural

The mural on the west wall is named the “Abundance of the Earth.” The central figure here represents agriculture and the figures surrounding her represent art, literature and music.

Louisiana State Capitol Art Deco Mural


Louisiana State Capitol First Floor

The Art Deco murals lead to the Senate Chamber (Left) and the House Chamber (Right).  These rooms are stunning in architectural detail: hand carved chairs, intricate marble walls and and desks of inlaid wood.

House Chamber

Louisiana State Capitol House Chamber

Louisiana State Capitol House Chamber

Senate Chamber

Louisiana State Capitol Senate Chamber

Louisiana State Capitol Senate Chamber

You can also walk through the back marble hallway where the Governor’s office was. This is also where Huey Long was assassinated on September 10, 1935. You can still see the chips in the marble walls where the bullets hit and ricocheted.

Louisiana State Capitol Hallway


Louisiana State Capitol Observation Deck

Ride the elevator to the Observation Deck for great views of the city and gardens.  The Louisiana State Capitol was built on the ground that was once Louisiana State University and formerly a military post known as the Pentagon Barracks.

Louisiana State Capitol View from Observation Deck

Huey Long is fittingly buried in the center of the public Capitol Gardens on the State Capitol’s grounds.

Louisiana State Capitol View from Observation Deck

Long stands in the center of an English Garden holding a model of his monument and looking up at his skyscraper – the beginning and the end of his grand political vision for Louisiana.

Louisiana State Capitol Huey Long Statue

The Louisiana State Capitol is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Tips
 
  • Official Website: Louisiana Capitol Building
  • Hours: 8:00am to 4:30pm, daily, except on major holidays.
  • Cost: There is no fee for admission.
  • Parking: Free parking is available at the “new” Capitol Building OR there are a also a few limited spots at the Old Governor’s Mansion.
  • More Sights in Baton Rouge: Read Here