New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas

Garden of the Americas, 1957

Between 1957 and 1966, monuments to three Latin American heroes (Simon Bolivar, Benito Juarez and Francisco Morazon) were erected on the Basin Street neutral ground between Canal and St. Louis streets. This "Garden of the Americas" was conceived by Mayor Chep Morrison as part of his administration's city-wide beautification project and, more importantly, as a symbol of the ties of friendship between New Orleans and the countries of Latin America.

The photograph shows the dedication ceremonies for the Simon Bolivar monument, on the site of the old Southern Railroad Station at Basin and Canal, November 24, 1957. From left to right are Adolfo E. Hegewisch, Chairman of the Bolivar Monument Committee and president of the Bolivarian Society of Louisiana; Dr. Cesar Gonzalez, Venezuelan ambassador in the United States; Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Alfaro, Venezuelan Minister of Health and Welfare; Mayor deLesseps S. Morrison; and Francisco Pacanins, Consul General of Venezuela in New Orleans. The Juarez monument was dedicated in 1965 and the Morazon statue in 1966.

[Municipal Government Photograph Collection, deLessesps S. Morrison Series]
Looking at Latin America as a whole we see that those deep rooted ideas and ideals that were the backbone of the Colonists, who founded the United States--life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--were also the ideas and ideals of those who founded the Latin American Republics. We had our Washington. They had their Bolivar, Morizan [sic] and Marti. We suffered, bled and died for an ideal. And so did they. The history of the original thirteen colonies and their growth into the United States of America can largely be duplicated with few exceptions in the history books as written south of the Rio Grande. We are brothers under the skin, brothers in our quest for freedom. Today we are partners seeking to maintain that freedom, not only for ourselves but for the rest of the world.
[Russell Raymond Voorhees.
"Latin-America--New Orleans Opportunity."
New Orleans Port Record, October 1942]

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