The Arsenal (New Orleans)
The Old Louisiana State Armory, commonly referred to as the Arsenal, faces St. Peter Street in the French Quarter only a few yards from historic Jackson Square. Since 1914 it has served as a Louisiana State Museum site and is open to the public via the adjacent Cabildo museum.
Built in 1839, the Arsenal stands adjacent to the Cabildo on the site of the old Spanish Arsenal built in 1762. Designed by James Dakin, the building is an example of Greek Revival style. It housed the Orleans Artillery up until the Civil War when it was used by Confederate troops to store supplies. After occupation by Union forces, the Arsenal came under federal control and was used as a military prison. During Reconstruction, it was given back to the state and was used to house the Metropolitan Police, giving it an important role in the Battle of Liberty Place in 1874. Violence between the integrationist Metropolitan Police and the white supremacist Crescent City White League erupted over a contentious gubernatorial election. The White League prevailed at first, occupying the Cabildo and Arsenal for three days until President Ulysses S. Grant sent in federal troops to restore order. In 1914, the Arsenal was transferred to the Louisiana State Museum to exhibit military objects.
Although the Arsenal faces Saint Peter St, it is only accessible via the adjacent Cabildo museum. Even though the structure once served as an arsenal, there is nothing on display inside that concerns its past history as an arsenal.
The first floor of the Arsenal serves as an education classroom for visiting school groups. The second floor houses changing exhibits that are open to the public. The third floor serves as meeting space.