New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas

Cuyamel Fruit, 1917

Cuyamel Fruit Company was one of the smaller firms of banana importers that attempted unsuccessfully to compete with the all-powerful United Fruit. Founded in 1902, purchased by Samuel Zemurray in 1910, Cuyamel fought United Fruit for its corner of the market until 1929, when the two firms finally merged--and Sam Zemurray came out on top as United's largest stockholder and eventually its president. By 1947, United Fruit's net worth was in excess of $250 million, and the company controlled nearly a half-mile of dock space in the Port of New Orleans for loading and unloading of its passengers, bananas and general freight.

In 1917, when Club Men of Louisiana in Charicature was published, Cuyamel Fruit was prospering. The company's Secretary -Treasurer, Ernest Schultz (about whom almost nothing is known today) is having a "very busy day," filling orders for Sam the Banana Man.

[William Keevil Patrick and Associates. Club Men of Louisiana in Charicature. (East Aurora, N.Y., 1917)]

What the United Fruit Company has done in the way of developing banana-growing and other industries in Middle America has been of inestimable value to New Orleans, for during the past half-century it has opened up trade channels not only for its own products, but has supplied the facilities such as transportation, both water and rail, for others to develop industries and trade. Moreover, acting as a goodwill agent, it has brought about a better understanding between North Americans and Latin Americans, who, speaking a different language and living according to different customs, were strangers in business and in their social life, although they did not live far apart. Thus, the United Fruit Company is essentially a part of the history of the City of New Orleans.
[Edwin Adams Davis. The Story of Louisiana,
Vol. II (New Orleans, 1960]

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