New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas

Del Sud, 1938

The photograph of this painting by an unidentified artist of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project shows the unloading of the steamship Del Sud in the Port of New Orleans, ca. 1938. In that year, nine steamship companies sailing to Cuba, the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico operated in the port, among them, the Delta Line of the Mississippi River Shipping Company, owners of the Del Sud. In fact, Delta Line operated two ships named Del Sud over time. This is the first, a 4982 ton steamship built in 1919 at Hog Island, Pennsylvania, and originally named the Salvation Lass. The Del Sud offered regular passenger and freight service between U.S. Gulf ports and Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The second Del Sud was built especially for Delta Line and made her maiden voyage on sMarch 28, 1947. Today, the Port Record reports, "twenty ocean carriers call Central America and the Caribbean basin with service at the Port of New Orleans," and trade with Latin America accounts for 10.1 per cent of the total trade volume at the port.
[Works Progress Administration Photograph Collection. Federal Art Project Series]

Take out your atlas, turn to the page where the Western World is pictured and take just one look at Latin America and then turn your eye to that little dot on the map representing New Orleans and you will realize what a wonderful job Nature has done. She has made the one and only potential port for Latin America to be found in all the great expanse of territory known as the United States of America. There it is, logical in its location, handy to the greatest area of Latin America with a wealth of deep water extending southward fan-shaped in much the same fashion that the famous delta of the Mississippi spreads out. Nature has tossed into the laps of the people of New Orleans the logical site for THE Latin American port. All that remains to be done is to furnish the physical parts that go to make up a port, supply the skilled management for the operation of the port--and the understanding of the people who go to make up what is known as Latin America. With all of these well in hand and with merchandise made in the USA coupled with a USA market for Latin American products the port of New Orleans is off to a flying start.

[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