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.