The New Orleans City Council voted 6 to 1 this afternoon to remove the Confederate/White Supremacy monuments. They were declared a public nuisance and three of the four *may* be coming down in the next week or so. I expect there will be litigation that could delay the removal.
I supported removing the monuments but I’m glad this whole mishigas is over. It was an ugly process and neither side distinguished itself during the multiple public hearings on this issue. There was much yelling, screaming, and misrepresenting. We had to endure people who claimed the Civil War was not about slavery and denied that the motive behind the monuments was relevant. It’s the only thing that mattered: the statues were erected in support of White Supremacy and Jim Crow. In the end, it was just plain weird to have Confederate monuments in a city that surrendered to the Union in 1862.
I’m hoping that we’ll draw a bright line around the monuments, and not rename other historic sites around the city in a haphazard manner. Repeat after me: the motive behind a monument is what matters. For example, the statue of General/President Andrew Jackson is there to honor those who successfully defended the city of New Orleans from the British army in 1815. It should stay and the public area named for him should remain Jackson Square. I wouldn’t object to a plaque addressing some of the complexities of Jackson’s life story, but removing either that monument or the statue of the founder of New Orleans, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, would give the pro-monuments people the chance to say “I told you so about the slippery slope.” I hope we don’t give them that satisfaction.
3 thoughts on “NOLA Notes: Monumental Nuisance”
Probably doesn’t really matter now after a century and a half, but the fact that New Orleans surrendered so quickly (good, in my opinion) might be one reason why they went up in the first place. But, agree that it’s good riddance.
Even Baton Rouge removed a public Confederate Soldier monument several years ago. True, the removal was part of a larger downtown development plan, and I think the statue itself was moved to the Old State Capitol (based on a Google search — it’s sitting indoors in an Civil War exhibit area)…but I think BR is likely home to more (or more per capita), ahem, sympathizers, or, if you prefer, treason/traitor apologists…
That said, no need to sweep an especially ugly aspect of history under the rug…but no need to exalt it either.
If City Council is at a loss to fill some o’ those spaces, how about a few monuments to the real heroes o’ 1815? Jean Laffite & his brother Pierre, Renato Beluche (who was born around the corner from the Cathedral), Dominique You (buried in St. Louis #2). Without them and their Crews, Ol’ Hick’ry’s claim to fame would be nothing more than a Slave beating, Indian murdering, Tennessee insulting loser…and New Orleans (along with most o’ the Eastern US at least) would be serving up more Tea than Café au Lait, singing ‘Rule Britannia’ instead o’ ‘When The Saints…’.
For Lee Circle, I propose we re-name it “Lafon Circle” since it’s smack in the middle o’ the “modern” part o’ the city Barthelemy Lafon designed & built!
Perhaps the neo-Confederate/RWNJs could be mollified if those statues were set up as targets at a shooting range. Then, the REAL TRUE DEFENDERS OF THE SOUTH could set up behind the statues, and shoot back.
Youtube viral, folks.
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