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Fodor's New Orleans 2014
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John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building
John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building Review
New York architect James Gamble Rogers was commissioned to design this three-story granite structure as a post office and court building in 1909, and it opened in 1915. By the 1960s the post office had moved to larger digs, and McDonough No. 35 High School found refuge here after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Today the Italian Renaissance building houses the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in an elaborately paneled and ornamented series of three courtrooms, one of which, the En Banc courtrom, boasts a bronze glaze ceiling. In 2009, the Great Hall's plaster ceiling was restored to its original appearance and color, a light gray. As you enter the building and pass security, turn left and continue around the corner to find the library, where you can pick up information on the courthouse. Outside, a repeating sculpture of four women stands atop each corner of the building's penthouse level: the four ladies represent History, Agriculture, Industry, and the Arts. The building is named for Judge John Minor Wisdom, the New Orleans native who was instrumental in dismantling the segregation laws of the South. Judge Wisdom received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.
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