The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition was held where Audubon Park is today. The Fair boasted an area of 51 acres “under cover” in five main buildings, and the most dazzling display of electric lights ever seen anywhere. It could be reached from Canal Street by six street railroads or by steamers on the river which left the foot of Canal Street every 30 minutes. In spite of art galleries, industrial displays, restaurants, railroads and rolling chairs, the Fair, built at a cost of $2,700,000, was a financial failure. In fact, The Rink, located at Washington and Prytania Street was built by Clara Hagan as a mid-way point to the World’s Expo.
It is at this Expo that Francis Willard and Susan B. Anthony brought to the South their fight for national causes. As the Exposition sought to assert agrarian and industrial issues it did also bring to the front women’s public and political lives in New Orleans.
Caroline did meet and befriend these women in their visits to the Crescent City. In fact, she had a reception for them at her home. Caroline writes in her memoirs that Mrs. Anthony wrote her in a private letter, “I remember my visit to the Crescent City with a great deal of pleasure, and cherish the friendships I made there.”
Frances Willard was an American educator, temperance reformer and women’s suffragist. She was instrumental in the passage of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. She became the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1879 and was president for 19 years. She appointed Caroline President of the WCTU in New Orleans.
Susan B. Anthony was an abolitionist, an educational reformer, labor activist, temperance worker, and suffragist. Caroline recalls meeting her as an event which was an epoch-making period in the nation’s history.
Garvey, Joan B, and Mary L. Widmer, Beautiful Crescent a History of New Orleans: Garmer Press, 1982, pp. 166-67.
Living with History in New Orleans’s Neighborhoods. “Tour B, Prytania St., Washington St., and Jackson Avenue.” http://www.prcno.org/neighborhoods/brochures/GardenDistrict.pdf.
Merrick, Caroline E., Old times in Dixie Land, New York: The Grafton Press, 1901.
Pfeffer, Miki. “An ‘Enlarging Influence’: women of New Orleans, Julia Ward Howe, and the Woman’s Department at the Cotton Centennial Exposition, 1884–1885.” http://udini.proquest.com/view/an-enlarging-influence-women-of-new-pquid:2408267521/
Susan B. Anthony House :: Her Story. “Biography of Susan B. Anthony.” http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/her-story/biography.php
Photo Source: Herbert S. Fairall, The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884-85 (Iowa City, 1885).
Photo Source: http://commmons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TheRinkNOLA1885.jpg