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Vienna World Exposition

1984 Louisiana World Exposition

The 1984 Louisiana World Exposition was a World's Fair held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was held 100 years after the city's earlier World's Fair, the World Cotton Centennial in 1884. It opened on Saturday, May 12, 1984 and ended on November 11, 1984. Its theme was "The World of Rivers - Fresh Waters as a Source of Life."

Plagued with attendance problems, the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition has the dubious distinction of being the only exposition to declare bankruptcy during its run. Many blamed the low attendance on the fact that it was staged just two years and two states from Knoxville's 1982 World's Fair, and because it was held during the 1984 Los Angeles summer olympics.

An 84 acre site along the Mississippi River was cleared of rundown warehouses, replaced by the structures of the Fair. This was to be a "Class B" exposition as defined by the BIE, the international body governing world's fairs. There weren't any major exhibits, such as those that had been seen at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, which started predictions that the Fair could be a flop. Sadly, those predictions came true. Although 7 million guests toured the Fair, it was not enough to recoup the $350 million spent to host the event. Paychecks started bouncing, and it was only through government intervention that the gates remained open through the scheduled run.

Despite its problems, the fair is fondly remembered by many New Orleans residents as well as for its noteworthy post-modern architecture including the groundbreaking Wonderwall designed by noted architect Charles Willard Moore and his partner William Turnball.

One of the fair's more famous attractions was the Mississippi Aerial River Transit. This was a gondola lift that took visitors across the Mississippi River from the fair site in the Warehouse District to Algiers on the West Bank.

The Fair was held along the Mississippi River front near the New Orleans Central Business District, on a site that was formerly a railroad yard. While the Fair itself was a financial failure, several old warehouses were renovated for the fair helping to revitalize the adjacent Old Warehouse District. The Riverwalk Marketplace and Building 1 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are structures originally built for the fair. Most other structures and the MART were demolished after the fair closed.

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