Bronze plaque commemorates 1984 World’s Fair

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – It’s been thirty years since the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. Now there’s a permanent marker at the heart of the fair site to commemorate the Exposition.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter was at the anniversary celebration.

It’s a celebration that’s been a long time coming.

The 30th anniversary of 1984 world’s fair was the catalyst for revitalizing the warehouse district. It jump started the New Orleans Convention and Tourism Industry, and started development along the Mississippi riverfront.

“We didn’t work the world’s fair; we lived the world’s fair”

“It caused us to rethink how we were going to live as a city in this area and because of the world’s fair, it brought in the infrastructure necessary to have the hotels and the condominiums and the restaurants and the retail,” said New Orleans Tourism and Marketing President & CEO Mark Romig.

The World’s Fair was a 6-month spectacular that trust New Orleans into the spotlight as a world class destination.

Hundreds of people showed up Friday night to celebrate the anniversary; including some former employees of the fair who hadn’t seen each other in decades.

“We didn’t work the world’s fair; we lived the world’s fair.”

Gail Varuso cherishes fond memories.

“You played hard, and you worked hard. There was no in between. You went to work every day with a smile on your face. Everybody was family and you worked from sun up to sun down to make it happen,” Varuso recounted.

But there were some financial pit-falls. The fair fell short of drawing projected visitors; which resulted in a 100-million dollar loss.

“You know, that wore terribly on a lot of people. A lot of people lost money, a lot of people went bankrupt as well because of it. So it left some very bad feelings,” Romig said.

A large bronze, commemorative plaque was unveiled at the corner of Julia Street and Convention Center Boulevard, the heart of the world fair site.

“The visitors and the travelers stayed away, but the locals had a blast. It was the best known secret in the united states,” Romig said.

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