Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

History

The Institute has also been involved in the promotion of cultural relations between New Orleans and Havana. New Orleans, a city much more caribbean than southern, shares much history with Cuba, and specifically Havana. The cities of New Orleans and Havana share a rich historical heritage which continues to be a strong bonding force today. The Spanish presence impacted the culture of both cities in similar ways and is readily seen in the beautiful architecture of many of New Orleans’ and Havana’s old buildings. Enhancing this historic cultural bond was the strong trade relationship that existed between these two cities. In the middle part of this century, over one third of the trade from the Port of New Orleans was destined to Havana and over 6,000 people in the city were employed in areas directly related to trade with Cuba. Today, the cities continue to have many similarities: both cities are approximately the same size and both of their economies are dependent on sugar, tourism and maritime commerce. The large Cuban, Creole and African descendent populations that live in Havana and New Orleans further link these two communities. In addition, the cities are leaders in tropical medicine and both share a susceptibility to natural disasters. Symbolic of the historic bond and feeling of sisterhood that exists between the two cities is the fact that D’Iberville is interred in Havana and that Jose Martí spent time in New Orleans during his residence in the United States.

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