Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

Blakeview: City Hall and the Civic Center

The complex was dedicated May 6, 1957

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This week marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of New Orleans' "new" City Hall and the accompanying 11-acre Civic Center. The complex was dedicated on May 6, 1957. The four other buildings in the Civic Center complex (all of which opened later) were: the Civil Court and state Supreme Court buildings, a state office building and the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. City Hall, built at a cost of $8 million, replaced Gallier Hall as the center of city government. The 1957 dedication ceremonies were held in nearby Duncan Plaza, which is named for Brooke Duncan Sr., the city planning director who first conceived the Civic Center. According to newspaper accounts, rather than cutting a ribbon, Mayor deLesseps Morrison used a sword that once belonged to Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard to tear open a plastic curtain and lead guests into the new City Hall. The state Supreme Court and state office building were demolished in 2009, but the other buildings remain.

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