New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas

Victor H. Schiro, 1965

In December, 1965, Mayor Victor H. Schiro led his first cultural-trade mission to Central America since taking office in 1961. The mayor and his party visited five nations, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and were greeted at receptions, luncheons, and dinners by government officials and business leaders. Schiro hoped to initiate talks leading to the possible establishment of New Orleans as headquarters for a proposed common market between Central America and the United States.

During his two terms in office, Mayor Schiro attempted to carry on deLesseps S. Morrison's successful pursuit of Latin American trade and cultural exchange. It was during his administration that the International Trade Mart and the Rivergate exhibition hall rose on the banks of the river at the foot of Canal Street. But various factors--disagreements among local leaders of the international trade movement, along with pressing domestic concerns during the tumultuous era of desegregation in New Orleans, for example--conspired against Mayor Schiro, and by the end of his administration the international trade movement had lost some of its momentum.

Most of the people in this photograph of Schiro's 1965 trip to Central America are unidentified. It is also unclear where the photograph was taken. However, since the tall man with the mustache is Jose Ramirez Soto, mayor of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it seems likely that the photo shows the New Orleans visitors either landing in or departing from Honduras. Mayor Schiro, of course, is the man in the hat.

[Municipal Government Photograph Collection, Mayor Victor H. Schiro Series]

The purposes of this visit are, to pay my respects to your government and to discuss with them various possibilities of continental, cultural and local interest between your republic and this region of the United States, with special reference to the expanded foreign trade facilities now offered by the new International Trade Mart Complex. . . . I sincerely hope that this trip will permit us to study new formulas that will increase the already existent and traditional commercial and cultural relations between that republic and this southern portion of the United States.

[Mayor Victor H. Schiro to Dr. Carlos Garcia-Bauer,
Ambassador of Guatemala, November 24, 1965. Victor H. Schiro Records]

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

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