National Sin in the Old State Capitol of Baton Rouge



Have you ever wondered what would happen if you knocked down a state flag in a capitol building? Well, no one will shoot you, and no one will incarcerate you for treason. However, I can assure you everyone in the building will look at you like you have committed the biggest sin.

Old State Capitol
Kyle McDonald, 21, going into the Old State Capitol Building of Louisiana for the first time. The building is no longer in use for state affairs, but people can do self-guided tours and other events here. Photo by Shiselle Povedano.

What is now known as the Old State Capitol Building of Louisiana was built in Baton Rouge in 1847. According to the National Park Service the capitol is one of the most distinguished examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States. Since its construction, the capitol has caught on fire twice and has been taken over by three different types governing powers. Besides that, Mark Twain mocked the aesthetics of the building throughout his writing, calling it “pathetic” among other things in “Life on the Mississippi.”

“It is much more pathetic to see this architectural falsehood undergoing restoration and perpetuation in our day, when it would have been so easy to let dynamite finish what a charitable fire began,” said Twain in “Life on the Mississippi.”

The construction of this building was possible thanks to the City of Baton Rouge’s $20,000 land donation to the state of Louisiana to build a state capitol, according to the National Park Service.  The donation made in 1847 of $20,000 equals $599,807.95 in 2017 money value.

Followed by the donation, in 1849, Baton Rouge became the new capital of Louisiana according to City-Data Report. With time, the capitol started to look very run down and the medieval look didn’t help the cause, on top of that, the capacity of the building proved to be too small for the expanding government, according to Louisiana’s Old State Capitol by Carol Haase.

In 1932, the current state capitol building was built according to the National Park Service. This is also the tallest capitol building in the US, according to The Council of State Governments. The construction of the new building cost $5 million to complete, according to Visit Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, the Old State Capitol Building is now used to house federally chartered veteran’s organizations, according to the National Park Service. That is probably why everyone looked at me like a disgrace after ACCIDENTALLY knocking down the Texas state flag.

Moral of the Story: if you’re going to do something you think you shouldn’t do, just make sure you don’t break it.

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