Benito Juarez, Hero of Mexico.

Benito Juarez, Hero of Mexico

Field review by the editors.

New Orleans, Louisiana

In 1957, New Orleans mayor "Chep" Morrison announced that the grassy median of Basin Street would become "Garden of the Americas." Nothing much ever came of his idea, and he was out of office and dead by the time New Orleans received the imposing statue of Benito Juarez, Hero of Mexico, in 1965 (Coincidentally, Morrison had died in a plane crash in Mexico).

Celebrating New Orleans' Latin America neighbors was politically savvy if practically a dud. For centuries the city was the principal port between the U.S. and the smaller nations to the south. And Benito Juarez was a fitting choice for a monument, having twice fled Mexico to live in New Orleans (where he rolled cigars in a tobacco factory) before returning to rule his country as a well-liked President from 1858 to 1872.

There are statues of Juarez in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC, but none of them are as geographically appropriate as the one in New Orleans. The city got it for free from the Mexican government and, as a bonus, it's the only one that makes Juarez look like a well-fed Bela Lugosi.

Also see: Quirky Monuments of New Orleans

Benito Juarez, Hero of Mexico

Basin St., New Orleans, LA
In the median of Basin St. just south of its intersection with Conti St.
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