Blakeview: The Simon Bolivar statue_lowres


This week marks the 60th anniversary of the dedication of a monument to Venezuelan military leader Simon Bolivar, nicknamed "the Liberator" for his role in leading military campaigns that freed six countries from the Spanish Empire during the 19th century. A dedication was held at the site of the monument near Canal and Basin Streets on Nov. 25, 1957. The 12-foot high, seven-ton granite monument, created by sculptor Abel Vallmitjana, was donated by Venezuelan leaders and the Bolivarian Society of Louisiana. Venezuelan leaders presented the statue to Mayor deLesseps "Chep" Morrison, who made a point to highlight New Orleans' trade connections to Latin America. The event featured a military parade and the raising of flags representing the United States and the six nations Bolivar is credited with liberating: Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Panama. In 1965 and 1966, statues of Mexican leader Benito Juarez and Honduran military hero Francisco Morazan were added to the plaza, forming what was called the Garden of the Americas.