We decided to stop in Baton Rouge just for the day. We parked our truck and camper at the casino across the street from the Capitol( you can see it in the parking lot if you look closely.) We saw the outside of the old Capitol and toured the new Capitol.
New York architect James Dakin was hired to design the Capitol building in Baton Rouge in 1846, and rather than mimic the federal Capitol Building in Washington, as so many other states had done, he conceived a medieval castle overlooking the Mississippi, complete with turrets and crenellations. Dakin referred to his design as “Castellated Gothic” due to its decoration with cast-iron, which was both cheaper and more durable than other building materials used at the time. Mark Twain loathed the sight of it, “It is pathetic … that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things … should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place.”
The new state Capitol began as the dream of one man, Huey P. Long. It took a powerful politician to to have this building built during the Great Depression. Governor Long, who met a fateful end in this building, convinced the public and the Legislature that a new state Capitol would save the state money because of its efficient modern structure. The Capitol was completed in 1932. It rises 27 floors into the sky and is the tallest Capitol.
Ornate detail is found throughout the Senate and House chambers. Walnut and Australian wood, bronze and many kinds of stone decorate the spaces. The coffered ceilings are made of a byproduct of sugar cane grinding.
The Memorial Hall displays flag and has two large bronze chandeliers.
There is a grand stair case leading to the entrance is engraved with each of the 48 states listed in the order of admittance to the Union. Alaska and Hawaii were added to the top step when they entered statehood.
Now for more about Huey P. Long. In 1935, when Long was a Senator he was assassinated outside the Governor’s office. He is buried at the center of the gardens. We saw one of the bullet holes in a column in the executive corridor. This is Capitol is one that we will remember.