"New Custom House, New Orleans, La."
By Alexander T. Wood, 1847-81
Ink and watercolor on paper
27 1/2" x 36" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Public
New Custom House, New Orleans, Louisiana
(two views) By the late 1840s, the growing commercial activity
at the port of New Orleans necessitated the design of a new and larger
U.S. Custom House. Alexander T. Wood's proposal won the competition. When
completed, it was the largest federal structure in the country. The building's
facade is considered a very original composition, consisting of a high
basement supporting a three-story building block. The distribution and
design of its windows are also unusual as is the center cupola. The completion
of this building was delayed by changes in supervising personnel, a sinking
foundation, the outbreak of the Civil War, and questions about the overall
design itself. Located in a historic district of New Orleans, this building
is one of the city's most important landmarks.