The Not So Great Fleur de Lis Ban Hoax of 2015

City of New Orleans Flag.

I guess it must be a slow news week in New Orleans because one of our local teevee stations, WDSU, ran a story about an obviously fake letter, he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. There was even a Twitter teaser from one of the station’s anchors.

No, not Scout’s little buddy. It’s another Scott Walker who, to his credit, has had fun with having the same name as Gov Deadeyes. The other reason it works so well is that viewers in New Orleans watched NOLA Scotty blow last night. What would we do without Charlie Pierce? Back to my own  shebeen…

WDSU’s first story about the fleur de lis ban letter was “balanced” and treated it as if it *could* be authentic. Holy False Equivalency, Batman. Not only that, but it ran at the top of the newscast in a week when local news is plentiful to say the least. The current story at their web site concedes that the letter is a hoax. I wish I had gotten a screen shot of the earlier version but I did not. If I had you could *really* watch NOLA Scotty blow.

The reason that this annoys me so much is that local teevee news in New Orleans is actually quite good. WDSU is stuck at third place in the ratings so they’re resorting to stunts like this one as well as tweeting selfies during commercial breaks. The problem is that there’s no story here. They’re pandering to a combination of gullible members of the twittering class and the “don’t erase our history and heritage” types who are rabidly opposed to removing Confederate monuments.

Here’s the back story. The “they’re going to take away our fleur de lis” meme is one of the straw men that is being trotted out like a hooded night rider with a flaming cross by the “don’t erase our history and heritage” krewe. I alluded to this in a post I wrote on July 20, The Fog Of History: The Jacksonian Straw Man. With a very few, very nutty exceptions, nobody is advocating eradicating the fleur de lis, which has  gone from being a symbol of the French crown to the symbol of the City and of our beloved Saints. Insert a Who Dat at this point for those who do such things.

As to the content of the letter, it’s ridiculous, preposterous, and incredible. Note the letterhead, the spacing, the crossed-out FDL inside a circle. Nothing looks right. For me, the biggest tell was this passage:

Our staff along with with former US Senator Mary Landrieu are also in negotiations with Mr. Benson and the NFL on changing the Saints logo and/or perhaps choosing a new logo for our city’s football team that would have no offensive religious overtones.

First, Mitch is a egotist and would say “my staff.” Second, anyone who knows anything about the dynamics of the Landrieu family would spot this as a false statement aimed, mostly, at Lakeview and Garden District Republicans. Mary is the oldest child and her kid brother Mitch is fifth in the sprawling Landrieu family tree of nine chirren as Santa Battaglia would surely say. In short, the younger brother wants to be independent except during campaigns. I recall seeing Mary taking charge of the stage when her brother was elected Mayor on his third try in 2010. She called him Mitchell and he visibly shuddered. This passage of the fleur de lis ban letter plays into New Orleans GOPer notions of the conspiratorial Landrieu family with father Moon and sister Mary pulling the strings. Insert evil laugh. End of this extended foray into pop family psychology. Your hour is up…

The tone of the letter is aimed at local conservatives who hate all the Landrieus and those, including many on the Left, who hate this Mayor. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again, Mitch Landrieu’s record is a mixed bag, I like parts of it and dislike others. I’m not crazy about his relentless, resilient boosterism and advocacy of gentrification, but I believe he’s sincerely motivated on the Confederate monuments issue. His father was instrumental in removing the Confederate battle flag from the City Council chambers, after all. Uh oh, I just sent the Landrieu conspiracy buffs into hyperdrive. Regardless of that, this letter is bogus, a fraud, a fake, a hoax and a tasteless one at that.

Timing and context are everything in life. If this letter had popped up on April Fool’s Day, it and the WDSU story would have been mildly amusing. Instead, it appeared on August, 26, 3 days before the Katrinaversary when people’s emotions are raw and old wounds have been re-opened. It’s like picking at a scab and drawing blood. We didn’t need this right now. And WDSU shouldn’t have used it as clickbait and a ratings ploy. Additionally, the people who are most likely to support removing the Confederate monuments, American-Americans, are the least likely to have benefited from the so-called resilient recovery. And they know it too.

I hadn’t planned to write such an epic post but context matters and I needed to explain some things to our readers outside of New Orleans. I hope I’ve clarified matters but if not, what can I say? I promise to be more resilient next time…

That concludes this episode of watching NOLA Scotty blow. Heckuva job, WDSU.

3 thoughts on “The Not So Great Fleur de Lis Ban Hoax of 2015

  1. Awesome. I always enjoy clarification. I actually took a screen shot because I was so incensed, and wrote a nasty rant which I took down as soon as it was pointed out to me that it was bogus.

  2. Anyone with a handle on 5th grade grammar and punctuation should’ve seen right through that by the first few sentences.

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