New Orleans Arsenal

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New Orleans Arsenal (1846-1914) - A Louisiana State Arsenal first established as New Orleans Arsenal in 1846 in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Used as an Arsenal up until the U.S. Civil War and thereafter as a military headquarters, a military prison and a police station after the war. After reconstruction, used by the Orleans Artillery and as a state arsenal. Transferred to the Louisiana State Museum in 1914.


During the early 1800s, ordnance stored in New Orleans was kept in rented buildings, and in the 1820s, much of it was moved to the Baton Rouge Arsenal. The need for an independent New Orleans Arsenal became apparent in the 1830s.

New Orleans Arsenal Building March 1934 Richard Koch, Photographer
New Orleans Arsenal Building in 2020.

The site selected for the Arsenal was occupied as early as 1728 by a French guardhouse and prison which was destroyed by fire on 31 Mar 1788. It was rebuilt by the Spanish and again destroyed by fire 8 Dec 1793. It was again rebuilt in connection with the Cabildo in 1795 and was used as a prison or "calaboose" until 1837 when it was demolished on completion of the prison on Orleans Street, which was also demolished.
On 25 Feb 1836, Governor S. B. White, of Louisiana, approved an Act of the Legislature authorizing the Arsenal and indicating:

"That the Civil Engineer shall draw a plan and estimate of an Armory, to be built on a lot of ground belonging to the City of New Orleans on the site of the old prison, near the principals and that said building shall be at least two stories high and so constructed as to contain twenty pieces of artillery, and ten thousand stands of arms; and that the sum of twenty thousand dollars be appropriated for that purpose. Said building to be commenced as soon as the City Council of New Orleans, or a majority thereof shall have notified the Governor of the State, of their consent to transfer to the State the property of the ground necessary for the aforesaid building"

The new arsenal building, designed by Dakin and Dakin Architects, was built directly behind the historic Cabildo in New Orleans and was used from 1846 until the Civil War by the Orleans Artillery. In 1860 the Arsenal was used as the headquarters for General P.G.T. Beauregard, (Cullum 942), adjutant general of Louisiana. The Confederates then used the Arsenal to store military supplies until Union troops occupied the city in 1862. Under the Federal occupation, the Arsenal became a military prison. After the war, during the Reconstruction period, the Metropolitan Police occupied the Arsenal.

In later years, the Arsenal was used by the reorganized Orleans Artillery and as a state Arsenal. On 15 Mar 1914, the old arsenal was transferred to the Louisiana State Museum.

Current Status

New Orleans Arsenal Plaque.

Now part of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. Access is through the museum.

Location: 615 St, Peter Street, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

Maps & Images

Lat: 29.95774 Long: -90.06406

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 344.
  • Photos Written Historical and Descriptive Data, HABS 18, Historic American Buildings Survey Richard Koch, District Officer, 614 Audubon Building, New Orleans, Louisiana District, Louisiana, Pdf


Visited: 30 Sep 2020

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