New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas

Cotton Exposition, 1884

The 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition was held in New Orleans at least in part to advertise the city's commercial revitalization following the end of the Reconstruction era. This panel shows the Mexican National Exhibits building at the Exposition. Mexico's presence at the Exposition, both in this structure and in the Main Building, was larger and more elaborate than that of the other Latin American nations present at the event--Honduras, British Honduras, Venezuela, Brazil, and Guatemala. The island of Jamaica also participated in the Exposition with a display of rum, sugar, coffee, cocoa, dyes, oils, fruits, medicinal plants, and more.
[Herbert S. Fairall, The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884-85 (Iowa City, 1885)]

The Octagonal Building

The Alhambra palace above mentioned, under direction of Senor Gilberto Crespo, a distinguished mining engineer from Mexico, was filled with minerals of rare beauty and value. Large glass cases, admirably suited for the purpose of the display, were ranged in two circles, the smaller one immediately surrounding the inner octagon and each mineral State of Mexico was represented by their contents. The States having the finest displays were Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Guanajuato and Hidalgo, whose immense resources in iron, copper, zinc and lead, as well as in the more precious metals of gold and silver, were excellently represented. Others of the cases contained specimens of Mexican skill in jewelry filagree work, and as this peculiarly beautiful work actually originated in Mexico, though since largely transferred to Italy and some other countries of the Old World, some veritable artistic treasures were seen. Precious stones were shown, opals from Queretaro State predominating, and the abundant riches of Mexico were in every way admirable represented. In the center of the mineral palace, immediately under the dome, was built up a small pyramid of precious metals, and beneath the outer circle of cases were arrayed collections of beautiful shrubs from the tropics. The colored windows of the building showed the great display to most excellent advantage.

[Herbert S. Fairall, The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884-85 (Iowa City, 1885)]

Introduction | Aguardiente de caña, 1770 | Imports, 1822 | Price-Current, 1845 | Minatitlan, 1852 | Steamships, 1854
Cotton Exposition, 1884 | The Logical Point, 1885 | El Nopal, 1885 | Bananas, ca. 1919 | Mercurio, 1913
Cuyamel Fruit, 1917 | La Voz Latina, 1936 | Del Sud, 1938 | deLesseps S. Morrison, 1946
International House, 1950 | Garden of the Americas, 1957 | International Trade Mart, 1964
Coffee, 1965 | Victor H. Schiro, 1965