Spanish Plaza is located on the river side of the International Trade Mart (OR78), its entrance marked by Spanish sculptor Juan de Avalos’s fifteen-foot-high bronze statue of Bernardo de Galvez, governor of Louisiana during the American Revolution. This open space is decorated with heraldic tiles representing 48 Spanish cities (the original tiles were a bicentennial gift of Spain in 1976; they were replaced with new ones in 2002). Other elements include a malfunctioning fountain, structures that mark the plaza’s entrances, restaurants, and other tourist-oriented uses. While Spanish Plaza is the site of the ceremonial meeting of the Mardi Gras krewes of Rex and Zulu on Lundi Gras (a tradition dating from the late nineteenth century), the location, disconnected from downriver open spaces by the ferry terminal, has become less of a public gathering area and more a forecourt to the adjacent upriver commercial Riverwalk, an urban shopping mall developed after the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and recently rebranded as an outlet mall. Plans are being developed (2017, Dana Brown and Associates, landscape architects) to redesign the plaza to commemorate the tricentennial anniversary of the city’s founding and connect it with downriver attractions through the redesign (Manning Architects) of the adjacent ferry terminal and open spaces.
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