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The Administration Building was built in 1869 as a replacement for the original building begun by Bishop Michael Portier in 1830 and destroyed by fire on February 4, 1869 (the Jesuits had assumed administration of the college in 1847). The replacement building, erected on exactly the same location, was designed by William Freret, a New Orleans architect. Built mainly of red brick manufactured on the campus, it has concrete neo-classical elements, such as Roman arches marking the main entrances on the north and south sides. There are aspects reminiscent of the work of Thomas Jefferson: on the second and third floors there is a large domed rotunda. The lower floor of the rotunda was originally the Jesuit library and recreation area. There are bookcases constructed to fit the curvature of the walls and decorated with carved fleur-de-lis. The third floor contains a circular walk, bannistered all the way around. The walls at that level contain the gallery of the presidents, portraits of three of the seven pre-Jesuit presidents and all twenty-four of the Jesuits. It is a remarkable historic collection. The dome above (not visible from the outside) is a graceful structure containing four round windows which give excellent light. In 1909-1910 the building was covered in cream-colored stucco, presumably because the locally made brick proved porous. Much of the original brick is visible in interior walls.
Originally the building (unofficially referred to as "College") housed virtually all members of the community: Jesuit priests, seminarians, and brothers, as well as three age levels of students, housed separately: college age, high school age, and pre-high school age. There were also classrooms, chapels, and small libraries. Eventually the top two floors housed only Jesuits, with classrooms, study halls, and offices on the ground floor. In 1981 the Jesuits moved to other residences and the entire building was converted to administrative and faculty offices, classrooms and computer centers and labs. It is a well-built building and, considering its age, is in good condition.