ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge
Louisiana State Capitol
The dream of Governor and U.S. Senator
Huey P. Long, the Louisiana State Capitol towers
over the historic city of Baton Rouge.
Louisiana State Capitol
The white iron tower of the
historic Biloxi Lighthouse has
survived two of the deadliest
hurricanes in American
Louisiana State Capitol Building - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Huey Long's Legacy in Louisiana
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: August 3, 2012
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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The observation deck at the
top of the Louisiana State
Capitol offers a breathtaking
view of Baton Rouge.
Grave of Huey P. Long
A statue of Sen. Huey P. Long
gazes up at the Louisiana
State Capitol from his grave
on the front grounds.
One of the most remarkable structures in the
South, the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton
Rouge began as a dream in the mind of
Governor Huey P. Long.

Long believed that Louisiana needed to build
something grand, something unmatched, in
the toughest days of the Great Depression to
show the world the spirit and determination
of the State. He also believed a new building
could be efficient as well as magnificent.

A special session of the Louisiana State
Legislature was called to vote on a funding
package for the project. The plan fell four
votes short on the first vote, but the Speaker
of the House ordered a name by name roll
call vote which gave Long time to rally
support in person on the floor of the chamber.

The 34-floor building was completed in
March of 1932. It is remarkable today to
consider that the project was finished in just
14 months and cost only $5,000,000. Such
an effort would be all but impossible to
complete in that length of time today.

The architecture of the building has
impressed visitors since its completion. The
approach to the main entrance is by way of
48 steps, one representing each of the
states of the Union at the time the capitol
building was completed. The top step
includes the Latin phrase
E Pluribus Unum
("One from Many").

Carved Pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana,
can be seen on the sides of the step and as
visitors approach the doors they are greeted
by the words, "We have lived long, but this is
the greatest work of our whole lives...The
United States take rank today among the first
powers of the world." The quote is from a
statement made by U.S. Ambassador Robert
Livingston at the signing of the treaty that
completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Fifty-foot doors lead visitors into a stunning
Memorial Hall where statues, portraits, flags
and other exhibits tell the story of Louisiana.

The construction of the Louisiana State
Capitol was a dream of Governor Huey Long
and it was in the building that his meteoric
political career came to an end.

One of the most powerful governors in the
history of the United States, Long
spearheaded a modernization of Louisiana's
roads, bridges, highways and other
government facilities that continues to benefit
residents to this day.

Huey Pierce Long served as Governor of the
Pelican State from 1928 to 1932, even
though he was elected to the U.S. Senate
just two years into his term. He was a social
reformer who believed in free school books
and voting rights for people of all incomes
and all races. His improvements and
reforms were often pushed through using
strong tactics, but few governors have ever
achieved as much in as short a period of

By the time Long relinquished the governor's
chair in 1932, his dreamed of new capitol
rose high into the sky over Baton Rouge. He
had upset the "old guard" of Louisiana
politics but was much loved by the rural and
poor people of his state.

Long's new capitol symbolized a new order
in Louisiana politics. He removed the poll tax
so poor people - both black and white - could
vote. He built more than 13,000 miles of
highways. The Charity Hospital System was
expanded and the LSU Medical School
became a reality.
Assassination of Huey Long
U.S. Senator Huey P. Long of
Louisiana was assassinated
as he walked down this hall
in the Louisiana State Capitol.
By 1935 it was apparent that Huey Long was
a serious threat to President Franklin D.
Roosevelt in the coming election. A believer
in redistributing the nation's wealth, he took
to the radio airwaves often to address people
across the nation and engaged in vigorous

He might well have become President of the
United States, but the dream came to a
bloody end in the towering new capitol in
Baton Rouge.

On September 8, 1935, Long was in the
Louisiana State Capitol for a special session
of the state legislature. One of the items
under consideration was a redistricting plan
that would likely eliminate the job of a
political opponent, Judge Benjamin Pavy.

As he walked down a hallway, surrounded by
bodyguards due to death threats he had
received, a young doctor named Carl Weiss
stepped out from a recessed area and shot
the senator in the abdomen. Weiss was the
son-in-law of Judge Pavy.

Long's bodyguards opened fire and bullets
ricocheted through the hallway. Marks left by
them can be seen there today, near an
exhibit on the assassination.

Huey Long, a man who could have been
President, died two days later. His final
words were, "I have so much to do." He was
only 42 years old.

An estimated 200,000 people came to Baton
Rouge to pay their respects to Senator Long,
who is buried on the front lawn of the capitol.
A statue of Huey Long can be seen there.

The Louisiana State Capitol Building is open
to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. There
is no charge to visit. Elevators provide
access to the 27th floor where an
observation deck offers incredible views of
Baton Rouge, the Mississippi River and

Please click here to learn more.
Historic Sites in Baton Rouge