NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Bank will open an exhibit Monday focusing on the evolution of currency, monetary policy and the economic history of the city.
Called the Museum of Trade, Finance and the Fed, the exhibit will be on display at the bank's lobby on St. Charles Avenue near Gallier Hall.
The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/13Dd57z) the exhibit includes video screen displays wrapped in booths shaped like enormous bank notes and cases of artifacts that describe how pelt trading morphed into money. The display also chronicles types of currency used locally, including Spanish coins, French playing cards, coins minted at the Old U.S. Mint and miniature bills that stood in for coins during metal shortages in the 1860s and 1870s.
The videos include characters from 1800s New Orleans, including a coin maker, cotton inspector and river pilot, who explain the financial system. The museum offers a walking tour of important sites in the history of New Orleans trade and finance. One kiosk lets visitors design cash using their own pictures combined with a selection of templates from real currency over the centuries., though the resulting bills are not legal tender.
New Orleans was the first branch location for the Federal Reserve outside its 12 primary districts. The local bank opened in 1915.
The New Orleans bank no longer does business directly with the public, but advises businesses on economic conditions and collects feedback from them for use in regional and national analysis that results in national Federal Reserve monetary policy.
The New Orleans branch covers the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Apalachicola, Fla.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com