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The World's Fair and Exposition
Information and Reference Guide

1984 Louisiana Worlds Fair




  • 90 facts and trivia nuggets with 7 links to additional resources.

  • The World's Fair and Exposition Information and Reference Guide is now on CD.
    11,216 facts and 1,362 web links covering 24 World's Fairs and Expositions.
    Further information can be found here.

  • To Convert Dollar Amounts to the Year 2003: divide the amount by .578



The following are on the CD
more Facts (??) Bonus: Timeline 1984 (38)





  • Dates: May 12 - November 11, 1984.

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana. Along the Mississippi River.

  • Theme: "The World of Rivers: Fresh Water as a Source of Life".

  • Type of Exposition: Specialized Exposition.

  • Fair Commissioner: James M Powles.

  • Area: 84 acres (150 acres total).

  • Cost: $350,000,000.

  • Attendance: 7,335,279.

  • Daily Admission: $15 for adults, $14 for children and senior citizens. Two Day Passes: 
    $28 for adults, $26 for children and senior citizens. Season Passport: Originally $150 but lowered to $99.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM daily.

  • Participating Nations: 15-22.

  • National Pavilions: unkown as of this writing.

  • Mascot: Pelican - Seymour D Fair.

  • Official Guide Book: $6.25.

  • The only World's Fair to declare bankruptcy while still operating.


Facts and Trivia


  • The Director, Petr L Spurney, also worked on the 1974 Spokane World Exposition, the 1976 Bicentennial Freedom Train and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

  • Featured Art work from: Dali, Matisse, Raphael, Rouault.

  • Nations Participating: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Caribbean, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg, Peru, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.

  • Two main entrances: City Gate and the Bridge Gate. The City Gate was over 50 feet tall.

  • Another way of entering the Fair was by Riverboat. Breakfast River Cruises were offered aboard the Natchez and Creole Queen. The one hour trip included a light champagne breakfast accompanied by a Dixieland Band. Price of the cruise was $15.

  • Featured Performing Artists: Pete Fountain, Neville Brothers, Lionel Hampton, 
    Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Clark, Wynton Marsalis, Al Hirt, George Burns, Red Skelton, 
    Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Linda Rondstadt, Willie Nelson, Donna Summer, Mack Davis, Captain and Tenille, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Henry Mancini, Freddie Hubbard Quintet, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Shelly West, David Frizzell, Dionne Warwick, Mel Tillis, 
    Barbra Mandrell, George Benson, Larry Gatlin, Englebert Humperdink, Oakridge Boys, 
    Tom Jones, Julio Englesias, The Osmond Brothers, Boston Pops, Vienna Boys Choir, Itzhak Perlman, The London Philharmonic and Isaac Stern.

  • The Mississippi Aerial River Transport (MART) was a fancy name for "skyride". It took passengers on 2,200 foot cable trips across the Mississippi River. The trip lasted 
    4 minutes and cost $3.50.

  • The ten car 146 passenger monorail, circled the Exposition counterclockwise. It reached speeds of 10 miles per hour and took 12 minutes to complete the trip.

  • Cajun Walk was a log fishing pier that resembled those found in the Louisiana swamps and bayous. It had a transparent roof and was part of Bayou Lagoon.

  • The Chrysler Building featured the new H-body automobiles.

  • The Conenergy Building featured an energy efficient house. It featured the latest computer controlled furnishings and you could design your own house with computer software. Remember this is 1984.

  • The Union Pacific System Pavilion featured locomotive No. 8444. It was made in 1944 and was the last steam locomotive acquired by the railroad. The locomotive was retired in 1959 and is used occasionally for special occasions.

  • The Giant Wheel was the tallest ferris wheel in America. It was 178 feet tall, had 
    40 gondolas and could hold 320 people

  • The Centennial Pavilion was created as a replica of a building from the Cotton Centennial Exposition which was held in New Orleans in 1884.

  • The Petroleum Industries Pavilion featured a reproduction of an offshore oil rig. It was 20 stories high, had a stocked 50,000 gallon salt-water aquarium and provided a working demonstration of an actual drilling.

  • The Source was a sculpture by Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne of France. It was a giant human head lying on it's side with water streaming from its eyes (resembling tears) into a pool below. It found a permanent home after the Fair in front of City Hall.

  • Centennial Plaza also contained a working Antique Carousel that was built in 1904 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

  • The Jazz and Gospel Tent provided 12 shows daily. It had 2 stages and featured such artists as the Neville Brothers and Deacon John.

  • The Italian Village covered 60,000 square feet and was an exact replica of the Piazza San Filippo di Giacomo in Venice.

  • Miller was the Official Beer of Expo 84. And it's Beer Garden was reminiscent of beer halls in Germany (go figure).

  • The Skylab fun ride resembled a ferris wheel. It started in a horizontal position and rose vertically as the ride progressed.

  • The Vatican Pavilion featured a scientific study of the Shroud of Turin and contained The Treasures of the Vatican, an exhibit covering 2 centuries of religious art. The exhibit was an additional $5 and included works by: Caravaggio, Dali, El Greco, Giotto, Matisse, Raphael and Rouault.

  • The largest building at the Fair was The Great Hall. After the Expo it became the New Orleans Convention Center.

  • The Christian Pavilion contained an exhibit last displayed at the 1884 Cotton Exposition. Among the items displayed were a Hebrew Scroll and approximately 200 bibles.

  • The Church of Christ Pavilion had two sections, one for adults and one for children.

  • The Louisiana State Pavilion featured a 14 minute boat ride exhibit that covered the States unique features and cultures.

  • The Ochsner Pavilion featured a 47 foot high walk-through model of a working heart.

  • The Preservation Resource Center Pavilion featured a relocated 1835 Creole cottage ... complete with garden, brick stoop and picket fence. It was one and a half stories tall, had two rooms plus an attic and was built by Jean Bozant. The exhibit was paid by 10,000 people who donated $25 each to have their names imprinted on bricks. The bricks paved the sidewalks of Fulton Street Mall.

  • The City of Portland, Oregon Exhibit featured the locomotive SP 4449. This engine was used to power the American Freedom Train during the US Bicentennial celebration in 1975-76. It arrived on June 2, 1984 and stayed for only one week.

  • The Great River Road Exhibit was housed in a replica of a Mississippi River steamboat that floated on a water course in the Great Hall. It housed displays by the 10 American States and 2 Canadian Provinces that border the Mississippi River ... Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Manitoba and Ontario.

  • The Lipton Pavilion housed the 1912 delivery truck of Sir Thompson Lipton.

  • The Great Hall Water Course was a 300 by 100 foot lagoon. It housed a parade of themed barges in a floating show that included bolts of lightning and rain.

  • The WDSU Telecommunications Center housed a working television studio that broadcast live segments six times a day. They also provided taped coverage and live-feeds for 75 stations across the US, Canada and England during the duration of the Fair.

  • The ATT International Calling Center featured a revolutionizing long distance calling system ... telephone calling cards.

  • The International Business Center played host to 24 individual trade shows and fairs.

  • The Canadian Pavilion had an exhibit promoting Expo 86 in Vancouver.

  • The US Army Corps of Engineers displayed the restored dredgeboat "Kennedy".

  • The France Pavilion contained an animated scale model of the Acheres water treatment plant in France.

  • The Japan Pavilion had a display promoting Expo 85 in Tsukuba.

  • The Republic of Korea Pavilion had a 1/3 scale replica of the Geobugseon, the world's first ironclad naval vessel.

  • The US Pavilion featured the world's first Stereospace movie, Water the Source of Life. A 70mm 3-D presentation that spanned 21,000 production miles.

  • Some of the sea-faring vessels that visited the banks of New Orleans during the World's Fair included: tall ships, paddlewheelers, steamships, showboats, hovercrafts, ocean liners, naval cruisers, aircraft carriers, battleships, submarines and Coast Guard cutters.

  • Sky Transpo was a 30 foot chairlift ride that traveled along the International Riverfront.

  • Mardi Gras parades were performed twice daily with floats designed by Goddard Productions. They are best known for their Rose Bowl parade floats.

  • The Louisiana Folklife Festival featured 14 musical shows daily.

  • All the amusement ride were operated by Six Flags over Texas.

  • Three paddleboats offered Mississippi River Cruises: Natchez, Bayou Jean Lafitte and 
    The Creole Queen.

  • The World's Fair hosted five International Water Symposia's in the Great Hall. Each symposia was open to the public and had an admission price of $250.

  • The Fairs mascots were: a pelican, a crawfish and an alligator.

  • Three roaming mobile stages appeared spontaneously throught the Fair to provide entertainment. Each musical show lasted 10 minutes.

  • Fireworks displays were held around 10:30 PM nightly.

  • The Fair sanctioned many sporting events including a Major League Baseball Old-Timers game featuring: Brooks Robinson, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew and 
    Whitey Ford. The Game was played at the Superdome.

  • The Italian Village had people dressed as Pinocchio characters selling souvenirs and Uncle Gheppetto making toys from wood. Pinocchio also had a birthday party ... every afternoon.

  • The Official Short-Wave Radio Station: WRNO.

  • The Official Soft Drink: Coca-Cola.

  • The Official Airline: Delta.

  • The Official Tea: Lipton.


US Space Shuttle Enterprise


  • The First US Space Shuttle Enterprise, was on display outside the US Pavilion.

  • Only the orbiter was present, not the external fuel tanks.

  • The original name was "Constitution". But a letter writing campaign by "Trekkies" 
    convinced Washington for a name change.

  • The Enterprise was officially designated OV-101 - Orbital Vehicle 101.

  • It was 122 feet long, 565 feet high, weighed 75 tons and had a wingspan of 78 feet.

  • The space craft was actually a test vehicle and not equipped for space flight.

  • The first space flight by a US Space Shuttle was by Columbia in 1981.

  • It and was designed to be used a minimum of 100 times and was suppose to make spaceflight "routine and less expensive".

  • It survived 5 unmanned and 3 manned "captive flights" before two astronaut crews took turns at 5 free-flight landings.

  • Prior to the 1984 Louisiana World's Fair, the Enterprise made an appearance at the 
    1983 Paris Air Show.

  • It's now part of the Smithsonian Institute's National Air and Space Museum.


The Wonder Wall


  • The Wonder Wall was a half mile long "fairytale mall" that was inspired by an 18th century drawing by Giovanni Battista Piranesi and described as "The Great Wall of China as designed by the Marx Brothers". 

  • It settled an architectural problem by creating a dividing boundary between the old warehouses of downtown and the newly design buildings of the Exhibition Center. 

  • Over 1000 plants and 40 fountains of varying design were incorporated in the layout.

  • One of the unique attractions of the Wall were the six 30 foot alligators made from sandbags that scurried across the top chasing 20 foot pelicans, which flew out of the Wall into the adjoining Giant Wheel.

  • It rose to a height of 70 foot in Bayou Plaza.

  • The Wall contained three stages for performing actors and musicians.

  • WRNO radio station had their studio in the Wall. WRNO is the "only privately owned commercial International station in North America". It's powerful three million watt signal could transmit dedications the world over. Broadcasts were live 12:00 PM - 10 PM daily.


Links, Online Resources



Books, Sources


  • 1984 World's Fair, New Orleans, The Official Guidebook. Mitchel L Osborne. 160 pages.



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