The Louisiana State Capitol (Current)
Backstory and Context
Legendary Louisiana Governor Huey Long echoed the general sentiment that the Old Capitol Building should be replaced, saying that the new capitol would symbolize ending the “political domination of Louisiana’s traditional social and economic elite.” Long was a Democrat and established the Share Our Wealth program. This program was created in 1934 and focused on wealth redistribution in an effort to combat the poverty created by the Great Depression. This program included a net asset tax, also known as a wealth tax, both on corporations and individuals. Long’s actions in office include an extensive expansion of public programs, including free textbooks for schoolchildren, the establishment of charity hospitals, and the expansion of highways and bridges in an effort to make rural areas less isolated.
Long remains a controversial figure in Louisiana history. In 1929, an attempt was made by lawmakers Cecil Morgan and Ralph Norman Bauer to impeach the governor. Their grounds for impeachment covered a wide variety of perceived offenses, including blasphemy, abuse of power, bribery, and misusing state funds. On September 8, 1935, Dr. Carl Weiss assassinated Long in the State Capitol. The assassination left bullet holes in one of the building’s marble columnns. The following quote taken from a speech Huey Long gave at Louisiana State University provides incite into the state’s love-hate relationship with one of its most famous public figures: “People say I steal. Well, all politicians steal . . .But a lot of what I stole has spilled over in no-toll bridges, hospitals, and to build this university."