This morning we drove the 50 miles from Lafayette to Baton Rouge and tried to turn our letterboxing luck around from yesterday's dismal count. Louisiana's capital city was much kinder to us, as we found nine of the 12 boxes we searched for, including two that were more than 10 years old.
Since the last box on our list was near the Louisiana State Capitol, we decided to grab some exterior shots of the building. Our capitol-visiting experience has taught us the value of seeing and photographing the outside on weekends when the statehouse is not surrounded by vehicles. As we were getting some uncluttered shots, we noticed visitors entering and exiting the building and were delighted to discover that the state capitol is open to visitors on Sunday afternoons. Parking was easy in a free lot about 150 feet from the grand entrance steps, and the typical security screening—walk-through metal detector and bag x-ray—was friendly and efficient.
|Mr. Long's dream|
Just as Mr. Long envisioned, this building is distinctly Louisianan. Though dozens of kinds of stone from locations around the world were used in the construction, every decorative motif references the history or natural history of this unique state. Sculptures and reliefs include pelicans, turtles, swamp waters and magnolias. Unlike numerous capitol buildings we have seen which could easily be transplanted to any other state fittingly, this one is a unique reflection of its state.
|Memorial Hall, Louisiana State Capitol|
|House of Representatives Chamber|
|South gardens in front of the Capitol.|
Of the 23 state capitols we have visited, Louisiana's ranks near the top of our list, for both its architectural distinction and its state-specific design. Art Deco features decorate the exterior all the way up the tower, many of which are all but impossible to appreciate without binoculars (or a hot air balloon ride).
Huey P. Long had a legion of detractors and an army of supporters. Without weighing in on the arguments about whether he was a hero of the common man or a dictator, let us just say, on the Louisiana statehouse, he did very well.
Louisiana Capitol Stats:
- Construction dates: 1930-32 (14 months)
- Height: 450 feet (34 stories) tallest state capitol in U.S.
- Construction cost: $5 million
- First occupied: 1932
- Size of grounds: 27 acres + 30-acre gardens
- Total length of sidewalks on grounds: 10 miles
- Architectural style: Art Deco
More Photos from Louisiana Capitol
|Pioneers sculpture near entrance pays tribute to pioneers who settled the state.|
|Twice-life size marble sculptures of prominent Louisiana figures, like first Governor Claiborne adorn Memorial Hall.|
|Louisiana governors are memorialized in bronze on elevator doors.|
|A 30-foot monument to Huey P. Long faces "his" capitol and marks the site of his grave.|
|The Long monument in the center of the south garden|
|Entrance steps feature the names of all the states in order of their admission to the union.|