1884-1984: The History of the World’s Fair in New Orleans 2

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The World’s Fair, or Exposition (Expo), is a big public fair held in numerous places all over the world and is meant as a signifies for participating nations to showcase their culture and folks. The initial Expo was held in London, England in 1851 and called the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations. New Orleans has been house to the World’s Fair twice, when in 1884 and then 100 years later in 1984.


At the time, New Orleans was house to the Cotton Exchange as well as the Cotton Planters Association, plus 1 3rd of all cotton was yielded in Louisiana. But, these are not truly the only factors the fair was called the World Cotton Centennial. The name pertains to the earliest record of cotton export within the US to England, which really thus occurs to date back to 1784. Despite the truth that New Orleans had been a reasonably rich city at that time, the US Congress loaned $1 million $ to the organizers. That amount was augmented by another $300,000 for the cause of building an display for the US government. Unfortunately, the state treasurer fled abroad with over $1.7 million $, eliminating the fair’s budget. Eventually additional money was found along with a lavish exposition opened 2 weeks late, on December 16th 1884.

The 249 acre location that the fair was stationed in was many notable for how it may be utilized. Visitors arriving via train, river steamboat or oceanic ship might enter the fair from their transportation. Additionally of amazing interest were the 5000 electrical lights illuminating the displays. Travelers from remote regions, and even some urban ones, nevertheless found electricity to be somewhat of the novelty. Electric street vehicles were displayed as a means of future transportation, plus electrically driven elevators. Mexico had a great display that pleased everyone who visited. With a budget equal to this of the government displays, the Mexican presence was very splendid. The big brass band was favored with all the crowds always of day as well as the displays of conventional Mexican culture peaked an interest in every who visited. Nonetheless, the fair shut on June 2, 1885 at a big financial reduction. There were tries to reuse the grounds and structures in purchase to gain some revenue back with small achievement.


The 1984 Louisiana World Exposition was called The World of Rivers-Fresh Waters as a Source of Life. The idea was to highlight the resources found in freshwater, close and far. From the beginning, this exposition was considered a class ‘B’ event, meaning there will be no main global shows. Stationed along a big stretch of land found on the Mississippi River, the organizers had all abandoned structures removed, building brand-new ones for the fair. The exposition opened on May 12th 1984. The top attraction was the Mississippi Aerial River Transit, a gondola lift stretching across the river to the West Bank. It shut on November 11th 1984 with all the distinction of being truly the only world’s fair to declare bankruptcy while nonetheless running.

Attendance during those six months was just 7 million. Compared to over 22 million at Expo86 in Vancouver, Canada 2 years later, it became a flop. There are 2 substantial factors contributing to the failure of the 1984 Exposition: the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair as well as the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Knoxville expo was held really 600 miles from New Orleans, too close for vacationing families to find a have to go to both fairs within a 2 year period. Plus, they would be showing a great deal of the same displays anyway. Add to this an epic globe event including the Summer Olympics and it really is acceptable a great deal of folks selected to skip the New Orleans fair in favor of anything more exciting. In the finish, it wasn’t surprising that bankruptcy proceedings began. In truth, the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition was these a financial catastrophe that since then, there has not been a single world’s fair held on American soil.

The idea of the world’s exposition initially came up when the globe was nonetheless a fairly big and undiscovered destination. That is not always true now, incredibly with way that web development is going. What was earlier shown for discovery at expos and museums in the 19th and early 20th century is today available online. Perhaps, today the idea of the world’s fair is better defined as a technique for a nation to market themselves to the rest of the commercial planet. Perhaps, that has been the idea within the beginning. Either technique, the World’s Fair is not a longer cotton candy and brass bands.

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  • Kenneth R. Speth 17 August, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    My new book “1884-NEW ORLEANS-1885 The Great World’s Fair”
    ISBN 978-0-692-06509-9 contains over 250 rare photographic images of New Orleans and the exposition from my personal collection, consisting of stereoviews, magic lantern slides, and cabinet card photographs. Signed copies are available on eBay.com
    Kenneth R. Speth recently posted..Copies of my book “1884-NEW ORLEANS-1885 The Great World’s Fair” – ISBN 978-0-692-06509-9 – are now available for purchase at the following retail locations:My Profile

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