Old Governor's Mansion History
Today, the Old Governor’s Mansion serves as a historic house museum remembering the lives of the nine governors who lived here, as well as the headquarters for Preserve Louisiana and a venue for special events. But its history starts in 1929 with the Long family.
History of the Mansion
The Louisiana Old Governor’s Mansion was built in 1929-1930 under the governorship of Huey P. Long, its first resident. Building the Old Governor’s Mansion cost almost $150,000, plus an additional $22,000 (a princely sum during the Great Depression years) for the finest damask and velvet drapes, crystal chandeliers, hand printed French wallpaper, and other fine appointments.
The Old Governor’s Mansion served as a residence to nine governors until 1962, when a new mansion was constructed just east of the New State Capitol building. In 1964, the Old Governor’s Mansion became the home of the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum (then, Louisiana Arts & Science Center) and served as the headquarters for the Museum until 1976.
In 1978, the Mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mansion underwent restoration from 1996-1998, and opened as a historic house museum in 1999.
Louisiana's White House
The Louisiana Old Governor’s Mansion is reported to be inspired by the White House as it was originally designed by Thomas Jefferson. It is said that Long wanted to be familiar with the White House in Washington when he became president, so he had the White House duplicated in Baton Rouge.
Many of the features of Louisiana’s Old Governor's Mansion are reminiscent of those in the ornate White House in Washington, D.C. Both structures have a portico supported by four smooth columns; both have similar entrance rooms, east rooms, west wings for office spaces, and state dining rooms on their first floors; both have oval rooms on their second floors, as well as east wing guest bedrooms; there is a stairway with a beautiful, large curving marble staircase with a fancy wrought iron banister; and the floor of the stair hall is black-and-white checked marble).
The Governors who lived here
The Old Governor’s Mansion served as a residence to nine governors between the years of 1930 (its completion) and 1962 (the completion of the new governor’s mansion).
In 1963, Governor Jimmy Davis moved into the present governor’s mansion near the State Capitol, ending the Old Governor’s Mansion’s 32 years as the official residence of Louisiana’s top executive.
The governors who lived in the Old Governor’s Mansion and their terms of office are:
Huey Pierce Long 1928-1932
Alvin Olin King 1932
Oscar Kelly Allen 1932-1936
James Albert Noe 1936
Richard Webster Leche 1936-1939
Earl Kemp Long 1939-40; 1948-52; 1956-60
Sam Houston Jones 1940-1944
James Houston Davis 1944-48; 1960-64
Robert Floyd Kennon 1952-1956