• Commerce of New Orleans

    The commercial year of New Orleans begins on September 1, and of course terminates August 31. The reason for this is obvious, as all the staple crops of this section begin to move freely after the opening of September. It is not possible in a brief article to accurately describe the volume and scope of the commerce of so important a business community as New Orleans, but the presentation of some of the leading statistics will furnish the average businessman with an accurate idea of the general character of the city's trade.


    See Image Below


    According to the official statistics, as compiled by the local customs officials, the foreign trade of New Orleans makes the following showing: Statement of the number and tonnage of vessels entered at the port of New Orleans: — Chart Below.


    American Foreign


    Country— Bales.


    Wheat— Corn— Flour


    Last year again witnessed the breaking of all records in Coffee Imports. According to the official figures the showing for the coffee year, ending June 30, 1903, is as follows: See Chart.

  • No condition was attached to the gift to the City of New Orleans, except the simple request at the bottom of the will that the little children of the public schools should come once a year and strew his grave with flowers.


    While New Orleans enjoys a large general trade, her main commercial activity centers in the marketing of the staple crops of this section, such as cotton, sugar and rice. The cotton receipts at this port for a long series of years have been: — Chart Below.


    Rough, Clean, sacks, barrels.


    The following table shows the volume of freight forwarded and received over the various trunk lines of railroads centering here: Forwarded, Received


    No city in the country has made greater strides towards commercial greatness, during the last few years, than New Orleans. Not being a new town, nor a boom town, this progress has not startled the country as something new and unlooked for, but the statistics of business growth, the enormous increase in bank clearings, the larger foreign commerce and the great development of banking capital tell a tale of substantial expansion to all students of commercial and financial affairs.

  • The good prices realized by the South for the past two cotton crops and the present unprecedented price for the fleecy staple have made this entire section prosperous and money plentiful. This condition of prosperity has naturally had a most beneficial effect upon the trade of this City. With the farmers out of debt and the country merchants enjoying a period of business success, such as they never before have experienced, it is but natural that every branch of trade and industry in this, the Southern metropolis, should be greatly benefited.

  • The development of the oil fields of this and the neighboring State of Texas has attracted the attention of investors and capitalists in this direction and created a demand for supplies of all sorts which has been favorably felt here. It is generally recognized that the oil fields of this section are only in the infancy of their true development and their successful working means much in the way of industrial growth in this City in years to come.

  • Within the past year or two many fine business buildings have been added to the facilities of this City. Hotel accommodations have been increased and further additions of the same sort are contemplated to accommodate the larger travel in this direction as well as the constantly growing number of winter tourists who seek this City in preference to the tamer attractions of Florida. With a climate equally as mild, and with all the diversions of a metropolitan City, New Orleans offers many attractions to winter visitors from the North which the Florida resorts do not afford.

Situated as New Orleans is, at the gateway of the Mississippi Valley, this City has long enjoyed a considerable volume of foreign trade, but as soon as the Panama Canal is built, and its building is now measurably in sight, this traffic can be safely counted onto increase many fold. This port is nearer to the Eastern entrance of the canal than any of the other large ports of the country and the products of the vast Mississippi Valley, which are needed on the West coast of South America and in the Orient, will naturally seek tide water at New Orleans for reshipment by sea via the Isthmian Canal. The passage of vast fleets of vessels through the canal will also give rise to a great demand for all sorts of supplies at the entrance to the waterway, such as provisions, ship chandlery, naval stores and coal. This Port will be the natural and best shipping point for such supplies, as well as the point of departure and arrival for passengers going to or returning from South American countries, via the Panama Canal. In a word, the Canal means a great deal for this City.

In anticipation of this increased trade, and to accommodate the constantly increasing size of ships, the Government is opening up a channel to the sea through the great Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, which will give a minimum depth of 35 feet at low water and possibly as much as 40 feet. This improvement is now under way and will be completed long before the Panama Canal can be opened to traffic. With that improvement New Orleans will be the finest deep water port in the world.


Not only has New Orleans taken on a new life in the matter of commercial affairs, but a spirit of improvement and enterprise has permeated the community in the interest of modern public conveniences and improvements. Not only have miles of streets been paved, but the people have also imposed upon themselves a special tax to secure adequate drainage and public water and sewerage systems. Fully $18,000,000 are being invested in these improvements, for which all the plans have been prepared. The drainage work has been already completed to a large extent, and although litigation somewhat delayed the sewerage work, it is now making good progress in every district of the city, and in a few more yours New Orleans will not only be one of the best drained, bat one of the best sewered cities in the country.

The drainage and sewering of a city situated as is New Orleans, in a flat, alluvial country, actually below the flood level of the Mississippi River, presented serious problems not encountered in other cities. These problems have been fully worked out, however, and a system prepared which will overcome all the topographical difficulties that faced the engineers.

During the past three years New Orleans has been one of the most healthy cities in the country. There is no doubt that as soon as the drainage and sewerage systems are complete its healthfulness will be further improved, and the advantages of


will become generally recognized. The following article, which appeared in the Picayune of October 27, under the above caption, is pertinent:

"There is every reason why New Orleans should be the winter resort of the country between the north polar ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its mild and genial climate; its ample and thorough accommodations for visitors, either in hotels or in private families; its cuisine, famous in every country where the art of dining is cultivated and appreciated; its varied and all-embracing means of amusement and diversion, and its charming social circles, which are open to all visitors who are worthy and are properly introduced, combine to make New Orleans a most delightful place to visit, while its sanitary condition, as shown by its small mortality returns, completes its claims as the winter health resort for the people of North America.

The Picayune prints a testimonial on the subject from one of the most eminent medical authorities on the American Hemisphere, Dr. Charles Alfred Lee Reed, of Cincinnati, physician, surgeon, medical author, litterateur of world-wide celebrity, and President of the recent Pan-American Medical Congress at the City of Mexico. The verdict of this eminent authority is so important that it is repeated here. He says: "It has been my custom for a number of years to send certain of my patients to New Orleans to spend a part of the winter season, and I myself hare occasionally taken the same prescription. The Crescent City offers peculiar attractions to the winter tourist, and particularly to such of them as are forced, by ill health, to escape the rigors of a Northern Winter. This is a consideration of no little importance to persons who may require the services of a physician or surgeon. In the next place, that city offers peculiar physical comforts to the sojourner; for the hotels are numerous and excellent. It is located far enough away from the seaboard to be free from the unpleasant features of a maritime climate. These features of the seashore, notably, sudden vacillations of temperature, with a maximum of humidity, are frequently inimical to the welfare of physically sensitive people. Those whom I have sent to New Orleans never complain of the ennui so frequently experienced at isolated resorts, but find wholesome occupation for mind and body in the varied attractions of one of the most individual and charming cities of the Continent. I look upon this feature as one of great importance, and insist upon it, whenever possible, In sending patients from home.

"Interested capitalists have made Florida famous as a destination for winter tourists who are rather more pleasure-seekers than invalids. For all such New Orleans offers all that can be found in Florida for health, and a vast deal more for pleasure, in which latter regard this city may well be classed as the Paris of America."

Although New Orleans covers an immense area for a city of 300,000 in- habitants, there is still ample room for expansion. The city limits include many times the area actually built up, so that there is space for growth in all directions, without having to extend the already recognized circumscription. There is sufficient area here, conveniently situated with respect to the older portions of the city, to accommodate several millions of inhabitants. While it would be overambitious to expect any such immediate gain as to warrant the hope that the next census will show anything like a million people, nevertheless there is a rapid growth of the population in progress, and it need surprise no one to find the population of New Orleans doubled by 1910.

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904

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