A seat of government for more than 200 years
This elegant memorial park recalls many eras of southern Louisiana history. The Ascension Parish Courthouse to your right is the most prominent landmarks today, but this square designed in 1806 has witnessed important events in regional government, war, politics, religion, and law.
If you had been standing on this spot in 1830, you would have been looking at the front of the State Capitol of Louisiana. The Capitol building no longer exists, but you can imagine what it must have been like in this broad plaza---carriages arriving with dignitaries, politicians speaking, militia marching by, lawyers bringing clients to trial and citizens celebrating the 4th of July.
Jewish citizens built the Bikur Cholim synagogue here in 1871. Large numbers of Jews immigrated here from Germany and France. The synagogue closed in the 1950s; the building now serves as a hardware store.
2 Doctor Office Memorial
Dr. John H. Lowery practiced medicine in Donaldsonville from the late 1800s until 1941, but also became a plantation owner, justice of the peace and philanthropist. His small
3 Capitol Building Site
In 1830-31 the Louisiana State legislature met here after having selected Donaldsonville as their state capital. However, the lawmakers moved back to New Orleans finding the building leaky and the town short on comforts. The building was torn down, but was located just behind the old National Guard Armory building you are facing.
4 Governor Nicholls Birthplace
Francis T. Nicholls (1834-1912), a Donaldsonville native, served as Governor of Louisiana twice following his service as a Confederate officer in the Civil War. He grew up in a house called "Old Bustle Hall" that once stood on the street corner behind you.
Today's courthouse features a renovted courtroom on the second floor. The Clerk of Court holds records here dating back to 1770. Most of the records from the 1800s were handwritten in French.
6 Parish Jail
Ascension Parish's fifth jail sits behind the courthouse and dates to 1867. No longer used as a jail, the cells upstairs are sometimes used as movie sets, as in the 2013 mini-series Bonnie & Clyde.
Ascension Parish Courthouse
In his city plan, William Donaldson set aside two lots for a courthouse and jail. Unfortunately, the first four courthouses were destroyed by acts of war or fires. The
The Donaldsonville Cannoneers, a local artillery unit drilling here in 1891.
In the court's 1849 marriage records we see the name of "Jean Lafitte," possibly the son of the legendary pirate and privateer.
Erected by Ascension Parish Tourism Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Notable Places • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 30° 6.268′ N, 90° 59.385′ W. Marker is in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, in Ascension Parish. Marker is on Nicholls Street near Houmas Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Donaldsonville LA 70346, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. War Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Donaldsonville (within shouting distance of this marker); Francis T. Nicholls (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles "Chalou" Trepagnier Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Crescent Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dedicated to the Memory Of (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bicentennial Jazz Plaza (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historic Donaldsonville (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Donaldsonville.
More about this marker. Located in the Louisiana Square Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 28, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 254 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 28, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana.