Located in the Irish Channel neighborhood between a welding facility and traditional shotgun homes is a strange Egyptian edifice. Its architectural details and motifs give a not-so-subtle nod to the great monuments of an ancient city thousands of miles away.
Built in 1834, this is the site of the original courthouse and prison for the short-lived town of Lafayette. The winged suns adorning its exterior represent protection, which is appropriate for a courthouse. It’s an exquisite example of the Egyptian Revival trend that gained traction in the 19th century.
The former courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in the Irish Channel of New Orleans. Its current shape comes from a 1843 redesign by famed architect James Gallier, though it was sold by 1852 for demolition. Thankfully it survived, and in its nearly 200 years of existence, the building has held as a courthouse, prison, public market, and government offices.
Today, it holds the floats for the Mardi Gras Krewe of Babylon. Every year, the Knights of Babylon present the first evening parade on the Thursday prior to Fat Tuesday, followed by a lavish ball.