Alley of Oaks and the 1884 Cotton Centennial Exposition

Continue on the path in the direction you have been traveling, along the Olmsted lagoon. Soon you arrive at one end of the Foucher alley of oaks, planted in the eighteenth century. Scores of exposition visitors remarked on their beauty and noted the Spanish moss hanging from them. The trees are also replete with "Resurrection fern" that is brown in dry weather but becomes green when it rains. Live oak trees can live hundreds of years; a few here are named and registered with the Live Oak Society.

On this end of these oaks, the Cotton Centennial's Art Hall stood. Even if the work was fine but not acclaimed, imagine standing before art for the first time, as many visitors did. Natural light poured in through the building's many skylights, and electric lights enhanced the view.

On the far end of this alley stood the glass-framed Horticultural Hall, the only exposition building intended to be permanent. The city of New Orleans funded its construction for $100,000. During the fair, it housed produce and exotic plants brought in by various countries, including fascinating succulents from Honduras and Mexico. Over time, small plants became huge ones, and Horticultural Hall was beloved as a botanical marvel by the citizens of New Orleans until the hurricane of 1915 demolished it.