The Governor’s Mansion is a much loved spot for field trips, but not every child in Louisiana has the opportunity to tour the grand residence. First Lady Donna Edwards is changing this discrepancy in a virtual way. She unveiled the new Governor’s Mansion website to an engaged group of children at the Mansion yesterday.
The children were gathered around laptops in the ornate drawing room when the First Lady entered with a kind grin and warm welcome. As she perused through the new website, she showed the kids the many features of the website, and they followed along, sometimes jumping ahead with their nimble computer skills. The First Lady shared her inspiration for creating the website, “Those who are in North Louisiana and South Louisiana may can’t make it to the mansion because of budget cuts or because of bus costs or because it’s so far away from where they live. I wanted to have a website where people could go and learn more about the history.”
The website features the history of the Mansion, background on the furniture and art, information on special events, a gallery, and a fun zone for kids to get updates on the First Chickens in the chicken coop and to find hidden symbols in the famous foyer mural. The mural represents the four corners of the state, and the artist, Auseklis Ozols, returns after each governor to paint a unique image honoring that governor.
To end the presentation, the children and guests watched a virtual tour narrated by the First Lady, which will soon be on the website. The tour delivered detailed information on every facet of the public space, from how many pieces of marble are used in the rotunda floor crest to the number of fleur de lis in the dining room rug (64, one for each parish).
After the virtual tour, the First Lady guided the children and guests around the foyer, dining room, rotunda, and grounds while sharing tidbits and anecdotes. When asked her reason for opening the Mansion to so many online, the First Lady responded, “Being a mom and a teacher, I wanted to have children who can’t get here to have access because it is the state’s home and to see the history because it’s a really neat place. We’re going to add something every month.”
If you can’t make it in person, you now have a permanent ticket to experience the Governor’s Mansion with the new website. Take it for a spin! I promise you will learn something new about our Governor’s home.