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OLD COURTS HOME TO NEW ORLEANS' PAST.

Byline: The New York Times

Visitors to Louisiana seeking an in-depth portrait of the state will find it at the Williams Research Center, housed in a handsome, recently restored Beaux-Arts building at 410 Chartres St. in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

The 14,500-square-foot center, which contains 80 tons of archival material, was opened in late January by the Historic New Orleans Collection, one of the city's most popular small museums, which had outgrown its quarters at 533 Royal St.

The Williams Research Center provides easy access to a large collection of books, manuscripts, documents, maps, letters, photographs and artifacts focusing on Louisiana and New Orleans history.

After the Chartres Street building was finished in 1915, it was home to a criminal court and a police station, but had been empty and deteriorating for 20 years before being rescued by the Collection in 1993. The $2.5 million restoration has revived the grandeur of the building's decor.

Among its records are 40,000 photographs and the unpublished manuscripts of the Louisiana photographer and author Clarence John Laughlin, who recorded the architecture of New Orleans and plantation country.

The center, (504) 598-7171, is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:TRAVEL
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 3, 1996
Words:208
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