In 1984, the city of New Orleans hosted the last world’s fair held in the United States. Conceived as part of an ambitious effort to revitalize a dilapidated section of the city and establish New Orleans as a year-round tourist destination, it took more than 12 years of political intrigue and design changes before the gates finally opened. Stretching 84 acres along the Mississippi River, the fair entertained more than seven million guests with a colorful collection of pavilions, rides, and restaurants during its six-month run. While most world’s fairs lose money, the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair had the dubious distinction of going bankrupt and almost closing early. However, the $350-million investment did succeed in bringing new life to the area, which is now home to the city’s convention center and a bustling arts district.
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