Gretna’s city hall (formerly the Jefferson Parish Courthouse) occupies a narrow site in the center of Huey P. Long Avenue. The three-story brick building is conventional in its Beaux-Arts classical forms, but squeezed onto a narrow site it is a compact composition with a vertical emphasis. Its central projecting portico has a triple-arched entrance, four Corinthian columns in front of the second and third stories, and a pediment. The building is finished with a projecting cornice lined with modillions and a parapet. At the center of each of the side elevations, the second and third stories together form a single projecting curved bay, which correspond to the concave-curved walls of the courtroom’s interior. A columned loggia fronting the second story of the bay further articulates the exterior. The courthouse is painted in a lively color scheme: beige walls, white columns, gray windowsills, and a burnt-orange cornice. In 1929, a plain three-story boxlike annex was added to the rear of the building. In 1964 the building was converted to the city hall when a new courthouse by Claude E. Hooton was constructed, itself since replaced.
The courthouse faces a small public square containing the Jefferson Memorial Arch (1923). Dedicated to Jefferson Parish’s citizens who served in all wars, the memorial’s single round arch topped by a tall entablature was inspired by Roman triumphal arches. Constructed of red brick with white trim, it has shallow niches on each side of the central opening. Aligned with and located between the former courthouse and the former ferry landing, the arch gives presence to Gretna’s historic heart.