Celebrating the Many Faces of New Orleans
Location: “The Monument to the Immigrants,” by Franco Alessandrini, Woldenberg Park, New Orleans, Louisiana, 29°57'13" N, 90°3'45" W.
When you think of New Orleans, you think of great music, great food and one heck of a great party. Mardi Gras is an unparalleled tradition to which thousands flock every year. The event speaks for itself. New Orleans has always been a southern gateway and US port where cultures blend and curate. The result is a unique heritage that should be celebrated just as much as a good Mardi Gras party.
This time we will take a moment to look at the contributions of Louisiana’s immigrants. Nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River sits a beautiful white marble statue called, “The Monument to the Immigrants.” The statue was commissioned by the Italian-American Marching Club and created by Franco Alessandrini, an Italian-American immigrant who calls New Orleans home. During the construction of the monument, Louisiana Magistrate Anthony J. Russo called on others:
“Let is not forget those brave individuals, let us not forget those strong willed adventurers, let us not forgot those with a zest to improve their life and the life of their family, let us not forget those hardworking ethnic pioneers, let us not forget those who parented, our doctors, our lawyers, our scientists, our statesmen, our judges, our businessmen and our entrepreneurs, LET US NOT FORGET OUR IMMIGRANTS.”1
The statue was officially dedicated on March 19, 1995 and sits along the Riverwalk in Woldenberg Park, downtown New Orleans. This statue stands as a reminder to all Americans. We cannot close our borders. Our nation is great because we have always been a nation of immigrants so, “Let us not forget…” The statue bears the following dedication:
DEDICATED TO THE COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMEN WHO LEFT THEIR HOMELAND SEEKING FREEDOM, OPPORTUNITY AND A BETTER LIFE IN A NEW COUNTRY2
1 “The Monument to the Immigrants,” The Italian American Marching Club website, accessed December 22, 2015 at http://www.iamcnola.org/.
2 “Monument to the Immigrant,” Statues Hither and Thither, accessed December 22, 2015, http://www.vanderkrogt.net/statues/index.php.
Monumental USA is dedicated to highlighting local monuments and the human stories that lay at their foundation. The desire is to reinvigorate civic pride and sense of ownership through interesting monuments to events and personalities great and small across the nation, with a special focus on local and perhaps obscure or forgotten memorials.