Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

    Campus Confidential

    It may be a small campus, but Loyola has many little-known places that are steeped in history.
    The Lower Depths Theater was originally designed to be a storage area.
    Kevin Zansler
    The Lower Depths Theater was originally designed to be a storage area.

    Even as administrators work to update Loyola’s image, the university plays host to a number of tucked-away places that few students see.


    The greenhouse on the fourth-floor of Monroe Hall houses some of the various plants professors and students use for research and teaching.

    Craig Hood, chairman and professor in the biology department, said the current greenhouse is actually the second greenhouse built at Loyola. The first greenhouse was built on the grassy knoll between the West Road parking garage and the Danna Center. It was filled with exotic plants used for botany classes and professors conducting research.

    Hood said the old greenhouse was torn down in 1998 because it was deemed “too ugly to be in public view.” In order for the greenhouse to function properly, the windows of the greenhouse were sprayed with a white chemical so that the greenhouse effect could take place, adding to the building’s unattractive appearance.

    “It did look a little messy on the outside,” Hood said.

    “But it was a functional green house.”

    The new greenhouse is smaller than the original one. According to Hood, greenhouses that are located at the top of buildings usually do not have as successful growth of plants as greenhouses located at ground level. Because it’s on the roof, the conditions are often too hot, and plants cannot grow there.

    “When they are on the ground in plain sight they can be easily maintained,” Hood said. “When they are stuck up on a roof, it’s easy for them to be forgotten about.”


    When Loyola had a dentistry school, biology professor Elizabeth Beard had a hard time getting her students to pay attention in class.

    Their classroom windows provided a perfect view of cadavers as they were hoisted through the air outside of Marquette up to the fourth floor of the hall.

    Dental students used a winch to haul cadavers from the ground behind Marquette up to the fourth floor. Students studied and dissected the cadavers in the laboratories.

    “I would be in class lecturing, and everybody would look out and bodies would be swinging in the quadrangle between Bobet and Marquette,” Beard said.

    Dr. John Shea, A’57, fondly remembers the unmistakable smell of formaldehyde coming from the laboratory and on the students.

    “We would walk in the cafeteria, and everyone looked at us and knew we were playing with bodies from our long white labcoats and our distinctive smell,” Shea said.

    The school of dentistry closed after it was sold to Louisiana State University in 1970.


    The old library, caddy corner to Marquette, sits as a vacant building where students often stop and rest before heading to their next class. The University and the Alumni Association fully funded the library, which opened in 1947. The library’s building costs amounted to more than $800,000.

    When the library was completed in 1950, the former New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel dedicated the library to the memory of students and alumni who died in World War II. A bronze plaque in the entrance of the library lists the names of the deceased.

    The current Monroe Library was completed in 1999, and it cost more than $20 million to build. Deborah Poole, associate dean for public services, said the new library was built because of a need for more space.

    “We needed room for more study areas, books and technology,” Poole said.


    The Marquette Theatre on the second floor of Marquette Hall originally served as a lecture hall for the dental school. In 1994, the drama department renovated the theater due to excessive damage from termites.

    Georgia Gresham, chairwoman and professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, said the theater, which seats 154 people, still has a 20th- century “fly system.” A fly system refers to the machines, such as ropes and pulleys, used in a theater so the set can be changed quickly.

    During the renovation, new lighting, and wiring were put in the theater, as well as a new technical booth. With a state grant received by the department this year, the department has upgraded the light board and purchased even more “sophisticated” lighting equipment for the theater.

    “We are actually one of the best-equipped theaters in the city,” Gresham said.


    Just below the seating in Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall in the Communications/Music Complex is the black box Lower Depths Theater.

    Built in 1982, it was originally designated as a storage area. Several students took over the space below Roussel Hall and began putting on student productions. Eventually, funds were allocated for the theater to receive proper lighting and audio equipment.

    Originally, the Lower Depths Theater used old church pews as seating for performances. Gresham said now the theater has folding chairs that can be rearranged for specific performances and seats about 70 to 90 people.

    Jauné Jackson can be reached at [email protected].

    Originally a lecture hall, the Marquette Theater is now one of the “best-equipped theaters in the city.” (Kevin Zansler)

    The now vacant old library was built in dedication to students and alumni who died in World War II. (Kevin Zansler)

    The greenhouse on the roof of Monroe Hall houses plants to be used for research and teaching. (Kevin Zansler)

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