The Cabildo, sitting along Place John Paul II, the promenaded section of Chartres Street stretching the last length of Jackson Square, originally served as the capitol for the Spanish colonial government, and took its name from the governing body that met there--the "Illustrious Cabildo." The Cabildo was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies and continued to be used by the New Orleans city council until the mid 1850's. In 1911 it became the home of the Louisiana State Museum.
Designed by Guilberto Guillemard, and financed by Don Andrès Alomonester y Rojas, the Cabildo it was and in 1795 after a preceding structure was destroyed int he Great New Orleans Fire of 1788. The French-style mansard roof was added later.
The building's main hall, the Sala Capitular (Capitol Room), was originally utilized as a courtroom. The Spanish used the courtroom from 1799-1803, and from 1803-1812 it was used by the Louisiana territorial superior court. After the American Civil War, it was the home of the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1868-1910. The Sala Capitular was the site of several landmark court cases, including Plessy v. Ferguson.
To the Cabildo's right is St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest, continuously operating cathedral in the United States and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. To the cathedral's right is the Presbytère, built between 1794 and 1813 to match the Cabildo. It originally housed the city's Roman Catholic priests and authorities, and then served as a courthouse until 1911. Today it is part of the Louisiana State Museum, housing a Mardi Gras Exhibit.
Cabildo National Register #66000373 (1966)
Vieux Carré Historic District National Register #66000377 (1966)