Built between 1847-1852 this lovely Gothic styled monument was not exactly welcomed with open arms. Baton Rouge residents were appalled by the structure as it was not similar to other traditional Southern Louisiana structures. The building was also immortalized in a negative light by none other than Mark Twain who referred to it as “A little sham of a castle.”
Originally constructed to act as the throne of Louisiana’s Government, the building is now a museum containing both political history and artifacts, but that’s not all it contains. It is a well known, and documented fact that there are ghosts within the Old State Capitol Building.
One of these ghosts is said to be Pierre Couvillion, a congressman who died at age 47 of a heart attack during the midst of a heated political debate about gambling . Having unfinished business at the Capitol Building, Couvillion can be seen, heard and sometimes felt walking the hallowed halls. There is a tale of a security guard making his rounds one evening that was “bumped” into by a unseen passer-by. The jolt was enough to turn his body. Couvillion is also blamed for setting off motion detectors inside of the building. On one account, a female night guard states that detector alarms were going off in sequence starting from the dining room, through the baby’s room and ending at the Governors’ room. Once the alarms had settled the guard went to investigate, she discovered that the bed in the Governors’ room had been mussed, as if someone had been laying on top of the blankets.
Couvillion is not the only political figure to have perished in the Old State Capital, and perhaps he continues his unfinished debate with Louisiana Governor and United States Senator Huey Long who was assassinated. Long was shot while tending to political business and died 31 hours later at a medical facility. Long is said to be guilty of following visitors throughout the building, the smell of cigar smoke is a indication that he is near by.
Along with these two political figures is also the spirit of a woman. Sarah Morgan can be seen wandering the halls at night as well. Sarah is a remnant from the Civil War era, one of the few that adored the magnificent castle like structure. Better known posthumously for her publication “The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman.” Sarah wrote of the horrors and tribulations endured by she and her family as the Union soldiers stormed Baton Rouge. Perhaps, she saw the Capitol building as a safe haven and felt peace within it’s realms as she is noted as a peaceful spirit that can be seen from time to time wandering about or standing in front of one of the upper level windows, peering out onto the grounds.
As if there isn’t enough activity on the upper levels of the building, it is a well known fact that most of the happenings occur in the basement. Utilized as both a hospital and a jail during the Civil War, a visit to the basement will likely be the most advantageous to ghost hunters. Many reports have been documented concerning physical contact, evp’s and full bodied specters whilst investigating this area of the building.
Today the Capitol Building (Museum) can be toured, there is even a 12 minute adventure for guests to experience where Sarah Morgan, in 4 D form, tells the history of the building and of those that both lived and died therein.