This impressive Greek Revival building was the inspiration of James Gallier Sr. Completed in 1853, it served as City Hall for just over a century. It took 2 years to finish, and on May 10, 1853, it was dedicated.
An Irishman who first came to New Orleans in the 1830’s, Gallier not only designed his namesake building, but also the Pontalba Apartments which flank iconic Jackson Square in the French Quarter. Gallier and his wife died in a shipwreck traveling from New York to New Orleans in 1866.
The building measures 90 feet in width and 215 feet in depth and stands 3 stories high. It is constructed of Tuckahoe marble and features two impressive rows of fluted Ionic columns. The building has been the site of many important events in New Orleans' history, especially during the Reconstruction and Huey Long eras. Gallier Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Several important figures in Louisiana history lay in state in Gallier Hall, including Jefferson Davis and General Beauregard. Mayors Martin Behrman and deLesseps Morrison, as well as Police Chief David Hennessey and Fire Chief Warren McDaniels.
More recently, it was local legend Ernie K-Doe who was so honored. More than 5,000 mourners came to Gallier Hall on July 14, 2001, to pay their respects to the flamboyant R&B musician, who was laid out in a white costume and a silver crown and scepter and delivered to his final resting place in the company of a big, brassy jazz procession. In 2020, Mr. Mardi Gras Blaine Kern also lay in state here.
Gallier Hall has also served as a hub for the City’s diplomatic activity, hosting Presidents such as Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding. International Royalty have not been neglected, the City has entertained Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff and The King and Queen of Spain in these fabled halls.
As New Orleans celebrated the 300th Anniversary of its founding in 2018, Mayor Mitch Landrieu assembled a team of community leaders to complete a $3,000,000 restoration and preservation of Gallier Hall as part of that celebration.