Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The Louisiana State Capitol at Baton Rouge is the tallest capitol building in the U.S. When Huey Long was Governor, he pushed to have this new building built during the depression years of 1931, and it is often referred to as The House That Huey Built. Before it was completed, he resigned, ran for the State Senate and never served a day there as governor. In a cruel twist of fate, he was visiting the reining governor in 1935 and was assassinated in the "house" that he built.

Long was buried on the grounds with a memorial statue of himself facing the edifice he cared so much about. Under Huey, Louisianans appreciated the transformation in roads,education and medical care that brought jobs and prosperity unlike anything they'd seen before. With his Share The Wealth programs, he put a huge dent in poverty which was at 60% , lowest in the United States, when he took office. 

The Senate Chambers on left, The House of Representatives on the right.

A depiction of the assassination, where it happened,  in the hallway,  in front of the governors office.

The building has rich  marble, brass, statues, windows, and beautiful pounded brass doors with embossed scenes of Louisiana's history. The house and senate were not in session when we visited, and the tower was closed for repairs.

The Old Capitol building is only blocks away and the nearby area is also home to other city offices and part of the Louisiana State University, notably their art building, museum and gallery.

The old Capitol is a turreted building resembling a castle and is considered a Gothic treasure. Restored in 1990 as a Political History Museum, the exhibits are stellar:

Here you stand on the speakers podium.  All you need do is press a button and the speaker and speech of your choice, thunders out. The screen in front of you shows the particular audience that matches the speech  as you watch the words roll in front of you on the teleprompter our leaders use to mesmerize us.  

Here Huey Long's statue self orates from a platform while behind him his shadow moves and gestures as in real life, making it seem that Huey is right in the room with you.

The building is as beautiful inside as out. The rotunda ceiling is all stained glass. I've visited many Louisiana Museums and I'm continually impressed at how well done they are. A must see when you visit Baton Rouge.

No comments: