May 4, 1962 - New Orleans gave President Kennedy an enthusiastic welcome today in his three-hour visit to one of the citadels of the deep South. A crowd of 255,000, many of them schoolchildren freed from their books for the day, cheered him on a 15-mile trip through New Orleans streets or heard him deliver 2 scheduled speeches. One speech was a major pronouncement on foreign trade — a good subject in America’s second largest port. The other was an impromptu talk from the balcony of the new City Hall in the Civic Center to an audience made up largely of teenagers and younger schoolchildren. To them, he issued a challenge to stay in school and educate themselves for a future that he saw as limitless as space. Fears that there might be hostile demonstrations because of Mr. Kennedy’s civil rights attitude proved groundless. Mr. Kennedy was only the sixth President to visit New Orleans since Louisiana became a state 150 years ago. It also was Mr. Kennedy’s second visit to the city. He was there before for the Mardi Gras celebration in 1940.
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