Sunday, April 27, 2014

Louisiana State Capitol: a 50-foot taller, but much uglier rip-off of the Nebraska State Capitol

The original (left) in Lincoln and the cheesy knock-off, in Baton Rouge
Both the Louisiana State Capitol and the Nebraska State Capitol were completed in 1932, but the Nebraska Capitol (in Lincoln) had been under construction for 10 years (it was built only as money became available; when completed, its $10 million cost was paid in full.)
     In contrast, the Louisiana State Capitol was built on the cheap for just $5 million, having been slapped together in 14 months and paid for with a bond issue.)
     From Wikipedia:
The inspiration to reject the traditional "rotunda-dome-and-wing" capitol when designing Louisiana's came from Nebraska. At the time, the Nebraska State Capitol, designed by Bertram Goodhue, was under construction and was the first that was a modern skyscraper instead of traditionally being modeled on the United States Capitol.
     The Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln was hailed as one of the most beautiful government buildings in the world by architects and is a marbled, Art Deco delight on the inside with mosaics and murals in abundance.
     The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge includes architectural details such as a pencil, still embedded after 44 years, in the ceiling of the Senate Chamber after 20-30 sticks of dynamite were exploded there in retaliation for police shootings of three African Americans.
     In 1935, the Louisiana State Capitol hosted the assassination of Huey Long by Dr. Carl Weiss, who himself was shot to death in the ensuing gun fight.
     Below: murals commemorating those working to improve social welfare in the Nebraska State Capitol (top) and the Louisiana State Capitol. Artist Steve Roberts depicted his mother at extreme right in the top mural.

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