Rapides Bank and Trust Co. / Alexandria Museum of Art
This turn of the century commercial building displays a sophisticated classical facade with four colossal Tuscan columns, and a well-proportioned entablature and balustrade. It was the third home of the Rapides Bank, which went into business about ten years prior to the construction of this building. The bank initially occupied half of the present structure, renting the other half for private offices. In 1914 the bank expanded its facilities and renovated the entire building solely for use as a bank; the new design was by Favrot and Livaudais. The building was vacated in 1954 and much of the evidence of its former banking operations has since been removed. In the early 1970s, the Central Louisiana Art Association approached the Rapides Bank with a proposal that the building be renovated for use as an art museum. The Alexandria Museum of Art opened to the public in October of 1977 as the CLAA. In 1998, the Museum board raised $6 million for the renovation and expansion of the museum. The new design included new gallery space, a grand foyer, collection storage and offices in the form of a contemporary annex, designed by Barron, Heinberg, and Brocato. The new Alexandria Museum of Art was the second building in Louisiana’s history since the New Orleans Museum of Art to be designed as an art museum. The focus of the Museum’s permanent collection of over 800 original works is Louisiana and the South.