219 Loyola: Building a Library for New Orleans



After the photographs are links to documents concerning the planning and design
of the building and quotations from contemporaries.
This imposing building, the Orleans Parish Criminal Courthouse and Jail, occupied the Main Library site from 1894 until its demolition in the early 1950s.
[New Orleans Police Department, 1900, p. 21]
Aerial photograph of the Tulane-Saratoga St. [now Loyola Ave.] corner, ca. 1947. The courthouse is still standing (the red arrow marks the spot), as are all of the buildings in the Civic Center area.
[Oversized Photograph Collection, #164]
The Civic Center area a few years later, ca. early 1950s, largely cleared for construction. For several years, the Library corner was used for parking(the red arrow shows where).
[Oversized Photograph Collection, #330]
Library Board Chairman Charles Smither, Mayor deLesseps S. Morrison, and City Librarian John Hall Jacobs show off the architectural model of the new building, March 2, 1956.
[Municipal Government Photograph Collection, NOPL Series]
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Main Library, November 30, 1956.
[Municipal Government Photograph Collection, NOPL Series]


Letter from Curtis & Davis regarding the sunscreen.
Hints to Architects


One of the reasons for moving this library into the new Civic Center, and downtown, was their [the city administration's] conviction and philosophy that in this location people in the downtown area would use the library on foot.

Nathaniel Curtis. In "P/A Design Awards Seminar IV." Progressive Architecture. (October 1957).

For many months, our staff has had the opportunity of studying plans of new main library buildings and conferring with library experts, as well as of examining the needs of our local situation. We believe that the building proposed for New Orleans represents the best contemporary thinking and planning of both librarians and architects, related to local conditions, and we give it our enthusiastic endorsement.

[John Hall Jacobs, Statement, 2 March 1956, NOPL Records]


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