Skip to Main Content

Latin and Spanish New Orleans

A guide to community, data, news, media, scholarly, and archival resources to explore present and past connections between New Orleans and Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain.


This section contains information on New Orleans and Louisiana archives and special collections with holdings related to the presence of Spaniards, Latin Americans, and Latinx/e/o/a communities in New Orleans, as well as to relations between New Orleans and Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain.

Please note that the guide below constitutes an expanded and updated version of the "Libraries and Collections" chapter of Patricia de los Heros and Patricia O'Connor's Guide to Hispanic Resources in New Orleans/ Guía de fuentes hispanas de Nueva Orleans (New Orleans: Stone Center for Latin American Studies, 1984).

The Latin American Library

Explore the tabs in this section for summaries of the Latin American Library's Special Collections relevant to the topics of:

  • Latinxs in New Orleans
  • Connections between New Orleans & Latin America and New Orleans & the Caribbean.

Contact with questions or to set up an appointment to view materials.

The Pan-American Life Insurance Group Collection (MSS Collection 179) of corporate papers, publications, and memorabilia was generously donated by PALIG in 2016. The collection documents the history of the Pan-American Life Insurance Company, founded in New Orleans in 1911, and its historic transnational business operations between the United States and Latin America. The Latin American Library launched the opening of the collection to the public with an exhibition co-sponsored by PALIG on November 21, 2019. You can explore the exhibit online: Contact Christine Hernández for more information.

Collections Summary:

  • Painter, Norman Wellington Thesis Research Material, 1948-1949. Material gathered by Painter in interviews with 68 Latin Americans and used in his 1949 Tulane M.A. thesis, "The Assimilation of Latin Americans in New Orleans". It contains the identity and brief biographical sketch of each respondent, and answers to questions on first impressions, adjustments, work, marriage and children, religion, organizations, friends and recreation, food, prejudice, and nostalgia. The thesis itself can be found in Tulane's Louisiana Research Collection & University Archives.
  • CISPES Political Ephemera, 1981-1985: A collection of newsletters, bulletins and press releases belonging to the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador in New Orleans, Louisiana before closing its office. Most of it was distributed by left-wing or revolutionary organizations in Central America. 
  • ​​Latinos in New Orleans and Sarah Fouts Collection of Ephemera: in process. Recent ephemera and other materials from the 21st century. Contact Christine Hernández for more information
  • Marcelo Martínez Palma (1883-1958) Collection: in process. Dr. Marcelo Martínez Palma was a leading citizen of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico where he had a successful medical practice. He graduated from medical school in Paris in 1911 and returned to Yucatán with a lifelong love of France as well as a passion for photography. The collection contains over 3,300 glass stereoscopic slides created by Dr. Martínez that document his family’s life and the urban culture in Mérida, festivals including Carnival, archaeological sites, and trips abroad to Cuba, Europe, and a visit to New Orleans in 1915. Of particular importance is the documentation of the family’s sisal (or henequen) hacienda during the boom of the henequen industry in the Yucatán peninsula during the early 1900s. Contact Christine Hernández for more information.

Collections summary:

  • John N. Teunisson United Fruit Company Photograph Collection, 1906: 35 mounted 7" x 9" black and white photographs taken in Louisiana, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, British Honduras, and Guatemala taken by John N. Teunisson.  Teunisson took these photographs during a quarantine tour of inspection of Central American fruit ports by U.S. health authorities as guests of the United Fruit Company. The photographs focus on public and domestic buildings, local bands, and hospitals. 
  • United Fruit Company in Cuba Collection, 1926-1972: A collection of correspondence, ephemera, news clippings, and publications related to the presence of the Preston Division of the United Fruit Company in Cuba prior to, during, and just after the Cuban Revolution. Of note is a photocopy of a letter to the wife of President Richard Nixon from Mrs. Henry Gilbert Smith regarding political prisoners in Cuba. Henry Gilbert Smith ran a travel agency in Havana that became instrumental in helping Cuban families send their children out of post-revolutionary Cuba between 1960 and 1976. 
  • Costa Rica Album, c. 1890 - 1900: A photograph album of 24 leaves containing 30 black and white photographs of Costa Rica by H. N. Rudd and Paynter Brothers photographers. They show views of San José including the National Theater, other Costa Rican towns, the United Fruit Co. building, and banana and coffee production. 
  • Alfred J. Snyder Collection of Guatemala Photographs, 1903 - 1904: 25 black and white photographs (7 1/2" x 6") taken by W.J. Stevens of the archaeological site of Quiriguá, Guatemala; also of the city of Antigua and railroad construction, collected by Snyder, the first New Orleans general manager of the United Fruit Company.
  • Colombia Postcard Collection, 1908-1995: Vintage postcards of various cities from throughout Colombia: Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Buenaventura, Cali, Cartagena, Honda, Manizales, Medellin, Pamplona and Popayán are some of the cities that can be found in the collection. The collection includes a variety of picture postcards produced by multiple publishers, including J.V. Mogollón and Tichnor Bros. in the United States; and E. V. Sperling, Leipzig. The postcards collectively feature scenes in black and white and hand-colored photographs and illustrations of early 20th century daily life, urban landscapes, waterfronts, and modern and Colonial period architecture. Many of the postcards contain handwritten correspondence and postage stamps.

Collections Summary:

  • Callender I. Fayssoux Collection of William Walker Papers: Includes letters, documents, and records of C.I. Fayssoux (1820-1897), aide de camp to William Walker. The material dates from 1830-1937 with the majority of it from the period 1855-1860. The majority of the correspondence dates from 1855-1860 and relates chiefly to William Walker's military campaign in Central America. 
  • Chiapas Collection, 1723-1927; Box 7, Folder 2: Speech by governor Jose Maria Ramirez dated Sep. 16, 1885, before the Congress of Chiapas on the general situation in the state. He mentions the participation of Chiapas in the Exposición Universal in New Orleans.
  • Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero Photograph Collection, c. 1935 - 1961: 32 black and white photographs of diplomatic personnel of El Salvador including Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero (son of José G. Guerrero, President of the World Court), ambassador to the United States and consul in New Orleans. The collection also includes 7 glass negatives of scenes in San Salvador and the country at large. In addition to the photographic materials are Guerrero's  papers, diplomas, passports, clippings, and political appointment documents.
  • William Gates Papers, 1923-1925: Gates exchanged substantial correspondence with Mr. Walter Parker, General Manager for the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to develop New Orleans as the principal commercial port for Mexico and Central America. In November 1924, Gates traveled to Tabasco with Parker and a group of New Orleans businessmen at the invitation of the governor of that state to study economic and social conditions for the purpose of furthering trade. 
  • Juanita Till Pradel Collection: Juanita Till Pradel (1920-2016) was a civic leader and businesswoman from New Orleans, where she lived all her life. A graduate of Soule College and Tulane University, as well as the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City, Mrs. Pradel was a fashion designer who was actively involved in many civic organizations in the city. In May 2016, shortly before her death, she donated to the Latin American Library three scrapbooks relating to her participation in a series of goodwill and trade missions to Latin America engineered by deLesseps Story “Chep” Morrison as mayor of New Orleans (1946-1961) and later as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States. The scrapbooks document missions in 1960 to Mexico, Panama and El Salvador on the Pan American Highway; 1964 to Guatemala, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Perú, Colombia and Mexico; and again to Guatemala in 1966 by motorcade. Mrs. Pradel was the only business woman selected as delegate to the three trade missions. This collection has not yet been processed; contact for more information.

Collections Summary:

  • Mexican-American War Exhibition catalog, 1974: An exhibition catalog for an exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. Twelve lithographs of campaigns in the war by Carl Nebel are shown as well as a list of other pieces in the exhibit.
  • Abbye A. Gorin Photograph Collection, Box 19Photographs of Peruvian, Mexican, Honduran, and Costa Rican sculptures and artifacts at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), dated 1976-1977.
  • Peru's Golden Treasures Exhibition brochure, 1979: One illustrated exhibition brochure for an exhibit titled, "Peru's Golden Treasures," at the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans.  It features some of the 222 gold artifacts displayed in the exhibit.
  • "South of the Border" exhibition brochures, 1993: Two brochures in English and Spanish of the exhibition, "South of the Border: Mexico in the American Imagination 1914-1947," open at the New Orleans Museum of Art from May 7 to July 14, 1994.  Illustrations of the art pieces are included.

Other University Archives

City & State Archives

Digital Archives

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.