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John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Post Office and Federal Courthouse)

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1911–1915, James Gamble Rogers for Hale and Rogers. 600 Camp St.

In his use of Beaux-Arts classicism for this three-story courthouse, Rogers was following Supervising Architect of the Treasury James Knox Taylor’s design guidelines for government architecture. Rogers won the courthouse competition of 1907 with a design that resembles an Italian Renaissance palazzo, producing two separate facades for the freestanding building. On the upriver long side, Rogers created arched openings along a rusticated ground floor and borrowed from Antonio da Sangallo’s Palazzo Farnese (1541) for the alternating triangular and segmental pediments over the second-floor windows. Third-floor windows are square-headed, and the building is finished with a balustrade. More dramatic are the structure’s short sides, where two-story Ionic colonnades screen the second and third floors. Heavy, rusticated Doric portals are a feature of the corner pavilions; on the roof of each is a copper globe surrounded by four female figures, Daniel Chester French’s allegorical sculptures representing History, Horticulture, Commerce, and Industry. The building, faced with Georgia marble, is organized around two interior courtyards, now roofed over, and includes three double-height courtrooms on the second floor. Rogers’s wide-ranging stylistic vocabulary is demonstrated in his more reticent design for the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College (OR176). The building has suffered from an unsympathetic renovation that included replacing all of the original glazing with heavily tinted fixed glass, creating a gloomy interior rather than the original light-filled spaces. Inside, the generous double-height post office workspace on the first floor has been compromised with a low generic suspended ceiling.

Writing Credits

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas


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Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas, "John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Post Office and Federal Courthouse)", [New Orleans, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

buildings of new orleans book

Buildings of New Orleans, Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 142-143.

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