The Cabildo

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The Cabildo
The Cabildo has Spanish arches with a French mansard roof.
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Location701 Chartres St., New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates 29°57′26″N90°3′51″W / 29.95722°N 90.06417°W / 29.95722; -90.06417 Coordinates: 29°57′26″N90°3′51″W / 29.95722°N 90.06417°W / 29.95722; -90.06417
Architect Gilberto Guillemard
Architectural style Spanish Baroque; mansard roof and third floor in French-Revival style
Part of Vieux Carre Historic District (#66000377)
NRHP reference # 66000373
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966 [1]
Designated NHLOctober 9, 1960 [2]
Designated NHLDCPDecember 21, 1965

The Cabildo was the seat of Spanish colonial city hall of New Orleans, Louisiana, and is now the Louisiana State Museum Cabildo. It is located along Jackson Square, adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral.

Jackson Square (New Orleans)

Jackson Square is a historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, for its central role in the city's history, and as the site where in 1803 Louisiana was made United States territory pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase. In 2012 the American Planning Association designated Jackson Square as one of America's Great Public Spaces.

St. Louis Cathedral (New Orleans) Church in Louisiana, United States

The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the oldest cathedral in what would become the United States. The first church on the site was built in 1718; the third, built in 1789, was raised to cathedral rank in 1793. The cathedral was expanded and largely rebuilt in 1850, with little of the 1789 structure remaining.



The original Cabildo was destroyed in the Great New Orleans Fire (1788). The Cabildo was rebuilt between 1795–99 as the home of the Spanish municipal government in New Orleans [3] , in 1821 Spanish coat of arms removed from the façade pediment and replaced with the extant American eagle with cannonballs by the Italian sculptor Pietro Cardelli and the third floor with mansard roof was later added in 1847, in French style. The building took its name from the governing body who met there—the "Illustrious Cabildo," or city council. The Cabildo was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies late in 1803, and continued to be used by the New Orleans city council until the mid-1850s.

Great New Orleans Fire (1788)

The Great New Orleans Fire (1788) was a fire that destroyed 856 of the 1,100 structures in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 21, 1788, spanning the south central Vieux Carré from Burgundy to Chartres Street, almost to the Mississippi River front buildings. An additional 212 buildings were destroyed in a later citywide fire, on December 8, 1794.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Mansard roof four-sided gambrel-style hip roof

A mansard or mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel-style hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its sides with the lower slope, punctured by dormer windows, at a steeper angle than the upper. The steep roof with windows creates an additional floor of habitable space, and reduces the overall height of the roof for a given number of habitable stories. The upper slope of the roof may not be visible from street level when viewed from close proximity to the building.

The building's main hall, the Sala Capitular ("Meeting Room"), was originally utilized as a courtroom. The Spanish used the courtroom from 1799 to 1803, and from 1803 to 1812 it was used by the Louisiana territorial superior court. During the years between 1868 and 1910, the Cabildo was the seat of the Louisiana Supreme Court. [4] The Sala Capitular was the site of several landmark court cases, including Plessy v. Ferguson .

Courtroom enclosed space in which a judge regularly holds court

A courtroom is the enclosed space in which courts of law are held in front of a judge. A number of courtrooms, which may also be known as "courts", may be housed in a courthouse.

Louisiana (New Spain) administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain

Louisiana was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1763 to 1801 that consisted of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans. Spain acquired the territory from France, which had named it La Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV in 1682. It is sometimes known as Spanish Louisiana. The district was retroceded to France, under the terms of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800) and the Treaty of Aranjuez (1801). In 1802, King Charles IV of Spain published a royal bill on 14 October, effecting the transfer and outlining the conditions.

Territory of Orleans territory of the USA between 1804-1812

The Territory of Orleans or Orleans Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from October 1, 1804, until April 30, 1812, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Louisiana.

In 1895 the building was in a state of decay and proposed for demolition; artist William Woodward led a successful campaign to have the historic building preserved and restored. In 1911 (the state's highest court having vacated), the Cabildo became the home of the Louisiana State Museum. The museum displays exhibits about the history of Louisiana from its settlement up through the Reconstruction Era, and about the heritage of the ethnic groups who have lived in the state.

William Woodward (artist) American artist

William Woodward was a U.S. artist and educator, best known for his impressionist paintings of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Louisiana State Museum museum in New Orleans, Louisiana

The Louisiana State Museum (LSM), founded in New Orleans in 1906, is a statewide system of National Historic Landmarks and modern structures across Louisiana, housing thousands of artifacts and works of art reflecting Louisiana's legacy of historic events and cultural diversity.

The Cabildo is left of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. FQDecaturCathedralFlagGray.jpg
The Cabildo is left of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. [2] [5]

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

The Cabildo was extensively damaged by a fire on May 11, 1988, which destroyed the cupola and the entire third floor, [6] but it was restored and reopened to the public in 1994. [6]

In 2005, the Cabildo survived Hurricane Katrina, the eye of which passed 30 miles (48 km) east of downtown, with relatively minor damage. Days after the storm struck, the Louisiana State Police used the business offices of the Cabildo to set up what was called Troop N. From the Cabildo, state troopers patrolled the city's streets along with police agencies from New Mexico and New York.

See also


  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 "The Cabildo". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  3. "The Cabildo | New Orleans | Attraction". Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  4. History of the Louisiana Supreme Court, retrieved on 16 April 2017.
  5. Patricia Heintzelman (June 30, 1975) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: The Cabildo, National Park Service and Accompanying 2 photos, exterior, from 1968.
  6. 1 2 "Louisiana State Museum" (history), Joseph F. Meany Jr., Karen W. Engelke, The Journal of American History, Vol. 83, No. 3 (Dec. 1996), pages 946–952, webpage: JSTOR-Cabildo.

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