Former Louisiana governor and U.S. senator Huey P. Long was known for making radical changes during his tumultuous political career. Through his modernization program, he expanded Louisiana’s public education system by providing free textbooks and busing for students; he increased enrollment at Louisiana State University, tripling its size and making it the 11th largest state university in the nation at the time; he expanded Louisiana’s travel access by building 111 bridges and paving roads, and, most notably, he built the Louisiana State Capitol building in downtown Baton Rouge.
Long had a vision of a capitol building that would encapsulate the elegance and simplicity of Louisiana.
After only 14 months of construction, the Louisiana State Capitol celebrated its grand opening on May 16, 1932. The building cost $5 million to complete.
The Louisiana State Capitol Building gained popularity by being the tallest state capitol building in the United States, towering at 450 feet with 34 floors encompassing 249,000 square feet. It is notably known as only one of four skyscraper capitols and one of 11 capitol buildings without a dome in the United States.
The 49 steps leading to the entrance bear the names and dates of the 50 states in order of their admission to the union, Hawaii and Alaska sharing the top step. Inside you will find a memorial hall, House chamber, speaker’s office, Senate chamber, the administration’s offices and the observation desk.
Long’s pride and joy project would ultimately become the site of his demise. On Sept. 8, 1935, Long was assassinated by gunshot in the Capitol halls next to what is now known as the speaker’s office. Sen. Long was buried on the building’s grounds, with a statue facing the building erected in his honor.
Today, the building is recognized as a national landmark, open for virtual or in-person tours for traveling families and history buffs. Admission is free.
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