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New Orleans


Along the mighty Mississippi

Taking it's place as one of New Orleans newest and most high profile statues is ‘ Mother River," a 30-foot tall sculpture that stands inside of a fountain in front of the Port of New Orleans. Mother River is an anthropomorphic depiction of a female form reaching skyward from her northern tributaries toward her destiny, the deep arm rivers of the Gulf of Mexico. The River's tributaries appear as children clutching her feet. Along the base of the sculpture, riverboats, tugs and other vessels are represented in relief. The rich mix of drama, humanity and nature's challenges is all represented in the work. With the arrival of Mother River, cruise ships; freighters and all other vessels are greeted with the site of a mighty woman reaching skyward—much like they are in another famous harbor further northeast. "Mother River" is destined to take her place as the New Orleans region tribute to the maritime industry, a thriving business with great heritage in the city.

Mother River joins a select few statues that grace the city's riverfront. One that seems to generate the most conversation is the elegant " Monument to the Immigrant" in Woldenberg Park. The white Carrara marble monument created by local sculptor Franco Allesandrini, rests on a series of risers constructed of blue stone and matching white marble,. On one side Miss Liberty faces the mighty Mississippi, while an immigrant family faces the French Quarter, where most immigrants lived when they came to this area.

Close by is Robert Schoen's "Old Man River," a stylized stone human figure made of 17 tons of Carrara marble. Since 1991, visitors have marveled at the 18- foot monumental statue's majesty. The figure's circular movement seems to convey a harmony of the work to its location. The river is connected through the openings of the legs and arms to the land.

The aquatic theme is further carried out in Woldenberg Park with " Ocean Song," a stainless steel sculpture consisting of eight narrow three-sided pyramids, each 10 feet tall. Native New Orleanians John Scott created polished surfaces that reflect viewers' images. The work is meant to depict the gentle motion of the ocean coupled with the reflection of human beings, symbolizing their connection to the sea.

Monument to the Immigrant
Monument to the Immigrant

Old Man River Statue
Old Man River Statue



Document Information
Source: New Orleans CVB, Paul A. Greenberg
Last modified: 20041004
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