NEW ORLEANS -- A landmark on the city’s skyline is getting refreshed as it prepares to turn 100 years old.
The cupola of the Hibernia Bank tower has been hidden behind scaffolding and netting in recent weeks as a $1 million restoration takes place.
Work includes “routine” maintenance as well as the installation of new LED lights to keep the cupola glowing at night, said Eddie Boettner, chief administrative officer for HRI Properties, which owns the building.
Crews should wrap the work within the next month, Boettner said.
The 23-story, 355-foot-tall tower has been a fixture in the city since it opened in 1921 as the headquarters of Hibernia National Bank. It was the tallest building in the state until Huey Long’s capitol building in Baton Rouge eclipsed it at 450 feet in 1932.
The lighted cupola, known for being bathed in different colors to celebrate various season, actually had a more practical use when it was built: a navigational beacon for ships making their way up and down the Mississippi River. The cupola also was the location for the first transmitter for WDSU-TV when it went on the air in December 1948.
The building was largely vacant for half a decade after Hibernia National Bank closed in 2006.
HRI bought the property for $3.5 million in August 2011 and wrapped up a $57.3 million renovation in 2013, transforming it into an office and apartment building.
A branch for CapitalOne, which bought Hibernia, still occupies the first floor.
Danny Monteverde can be reached at email@example.com.