US Court of Appeals in New Orleans
Spanning an entire city block and overlooking Lafayette Square, the John Minor Wisdom US Court of Appeals building in downtown New Orleans is a glorious example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. Completed in 1915, the building has been home to the Post Office, a high school (after Hurricane Betsy in the 60s) and the actual court.
In 1974, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
What are the statues on the corners?
Perhaps the most striking exterior features of the building are the groupings of four colossal statues placed at each of the building’s corners. These identical copper and bronze sculptures are called History, Agriculture, Industry, and Arts, but are popularly known as “The Ladies.” Each figure holds an item associated with the concept it represents. History wears a bonnet; Agriculture holds a cornucopia; Industry holds a tool; and Arts holds a flower. The figures are seated around an armillary sphere banded by the signs of the zodiac. Each sculpture is twelve feet high and weighs one ton. The renowned Piccirilli Brothers, expert marble carvers who also executed Daniel Chester French’s statue of President Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, created “The Ladies” from drawings by architect James Gamble Rogers.
The statues are not visible from the ground, but are a beautiful example of the detailed work that went into the construction of the building.