Louisiana World Exposition

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Text on Button LOUISIANA WORLD EXPOSITION® 84 MAY 12-NOV. 11, 1984
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Black text encircling image of blue and gray wave with white 84 in the image.

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The "world’s fair" was a large international exhibition of a wide variety of industrial, scientific, and cultural items that are on display at a specific site for a period of time, ranging usually from three to six months. Since 1970, the world's fair has been themed, often environmental in nature, rather than a celebration of a historical anniversary or a colonial empire like the earlier fairs. Many of these modern themed world's fair were shorter festivals held in smaller cities compared to Paris, New York, Chicago, and other headliners of the early 20th century. The 1984 fair was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Louisiana World Exposition's theme was "The World of Rivers—Fresh Waters as a Source of Life." The expo was plagued with attendance problems and subsequently gained the dubious distinction of being the only exposition to declare bankruptcy during its run.

The bankruptcy and bad publicity of the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair would lead to a three decade pull back of the United States from the World's Fair landscape, with subsequent withdrawal from the Bureau of International Expositions. Although New Orleans was a success from an exhibit standpoint, unrealistic attendance estimates made the fair as a whole a failure with a low attendance of seven million. The previous world fair held in Knoxville, Tennessee drew in eleven million.


Findling, J. E., & Pelle, K. D. (2008). Encyclopedia of world's fairs and expositions. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co..

NEW ORLEANS, U.S.A. 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, Rivers of the Worlds- Fresh Water as a Source of Life. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://americasbesthistory.com/wfneworleans1984.html.

Catalog ID EV0873