New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal
New Orleans, LA
During the great days of rail travel in the early 20th century, New Orleans was home to a number of lovely railroad stations, each serving separate rail companies. Most notably, this location was a terminal for the Illinois Central Railroad which opened on June 1, 1892 and was the only train station designed by noted architect Louis H. Sullivan. Sullivan's head draftsman at the time was Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1953, this new station was built to consolidate the operations of the different passenger railroads under one roof. With the rise of air and auto travel and the decline of railroads, this modernist monument faded to a shadow of its formerly optimistic self. In the 1970s the building became an intermodal facility when two platforms were shortened to create docks for Greyhound intercity busses. The facility was spared major damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was even used as a temporary jail.
Perhaps the most interesting decorative feature of the facility are the fresco murals that depict the history of Louisiana in four panels representing the ages of exploration (SW corner), colonization (NW corner), struggle (NE corner), and the modern age (SE corner). They were painted by Conrad Albrizio, a member of Louisiana State University's Art Department who also painted a large fresco in the new State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Albrizio was assisted by James Fisher in the creation of the murals. The New Orleans Public Library provides a scan of a guide to the materials on their website.