Lost Cause Festers Do Mardi Gras

Photograph via SPLC.

In the past, Carnival has united New Orleans. The first season after Katrina and the Federal Flood was both memorable and moving. Some outsiders criticized us for throwing a massive street party after a disaster but it’s what we do in the Crescent City. In 2018, divisiveness is in the air, driven by our old “pals” the Lost Causers.

A guy named Charles Marsala and his group Save NOLA Heritage (not to be confused with the tasty veal dish) are selling the “Forever Lee Circle” beads you see at the top of the post. They’ve set up a Facebook page to help hawk their divisive wares and mock their critics. Hawk-n-mock sounds vaguely Trumpian.  Since the only thing the Insult Comedian and I have in common is a fondness for nicknaming people, this Lost Causer will hereinafter be called Spoiled Veal Marsala.

Marsala spoke to WWL-TV the other day:

Marsala is a part of Save Nola Heritage, a group that wants to educate and demand more transparency from the city about what it does with public art, such as monuments.

“We spent the money from the bead sales, we put banners on the monument itself. Robert E. Lee’s birthday was about two weeks ago,” he said.

Marsala said the beads are not meant to be racist in any way. He wants them to serve as a reminder that Lee Circle still needs attention.

Spoiled Veal Marsala’s group is NOT about transparency. It’s about nostalgia for the Confederacy, Jim Crow, slavery, and white supremacy. Instead of banners, they should adorn the empty pedestals with nooses to “honor” the lynchings that used to be depressingly common in the Deep South.

Carnival throws in New Orleans have been traditionally non-commercial and relatively apolitical. Some parading krewes have already asked their members not to throw any of the Lee Circle Forever beads. I suspect they’ll turn up when some of the more retrograde krewes roll: I omit the names to protect the guilty.

Another weird feature of the Forever Lee Circle Facebook page is a cartoon of the three deposed statue dudes, Davis, Beauregard, and Lee, riding a float. They’re throwing books labelled history. I though the Lost Causers were about saving their view of history, not throwing it away.

It’s a pity that they don’t depict Jeff Davis in drag.

It’s no coincidence that Southern Lost Cause Festers have risen again with a white nationalist talking terlet in the White House. The Trumpers have signaled that bigotry, intolerance, and hatred are back in fashion. There are “good people on both sides,” according to the president*. Wrong again, Donny, baby. There’s the right side and the all-white side.

I said this about our Spank-a-Mole box earlier today:

Spank-a-Mole is a game of endurance wherein you beat the mole into submission. That’s what the anti-Trump resistance has to do: keep spanking the ugly orange mole.

That goes double for such enduring pests as racism, xenophobia, sexism, and religious bigotry. They have to beaten into submission. Every time we think we have the hate moles on the run, they pop up again. People of good will hoped that the election of our first black president would be the death knell of overt racism in the country. Our optimism was premature: haters keep popping up.

I’ve been pleased by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the beads as well as to a fundraiser held at the Mid City Lane Rock ‘n’ Bowl to raise money for local Lost Cause Festers. I hope touring acts will avoid playing that venue as its owner is an ardent Trumper and supporter of Save NOLA Heritage. Just say no to bigots.

The last word goes to John Boutte with his interpretation of Neil Young’s Southern Man:


6 thoughts on “Lost Cause Festers Do Mardi Gras

  1. Do the Forever Lee beads come in colors other than white?

    Just asking.

    Throw me something else, mister.

  2. Peter, Some FYI… Like you I lived in San Mateo County, CA. and now like you I have a Krewe. Mine is the Krewe of Awe (Awesome Wildlife Effort) that marches as Elephants to bring attention to endangered African Wildlife Species and symbolically adopts orphan animals whose mothers have been poached. We publish our films under http://www.AWE.News

    I also do Social Media for satire. I recently wrote a piece that New Orleans is going to name it Water Boil advisories: Crab, Shrimp, and Crawfish depending on the size. Another piece suggests that Lee Circle become “Moon Circle” and leave the pedestal to watch the Full Moon rise and sit on top of the 60′ column.

    However, i am not selling Forever Lee Circle Beads and neither is Save Nola Heritage. Save Nola Heritage did receive a $500.00 donation towards banners and a video we made on Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking.

    In New York, they decided that rather then remove millions in outdoor art, they would add other statues and descriptive plaques to the existing ones of Teddy Roosevelt and Columbus. I think this is a smarter solution. NOLA has numerous monuments to slave owners and human traffickers with groups calling for their removal. This is going to be a long process and most do not know the whole story.

    I was not interviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but I would be happy to do so publically. So you should delete that part of your Blog…. I am driven to bring Awareness to Human Trafficking and use every opportunity. I might reach out to SPLC as that is my “Lost Cause” along with saving the elephant from extinction. January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month and I was hoping WWL would mention that in their story. I am disappointed they did not- what a “Lost Opportunity.”

    What has me “Lost Caused” here is that Political Satire has been used in parades the last two years on the monument issue. So I would think the idea that someone would be an our city’s entrepreneur and bring political satire via a bead to the empty pedestals would be in line with beliefs. Again I am not the person who created the bead, but was happy to defend their right to use political satire.

    They did not want the abuse of speaking to WWL. However the originator and owner will be interviewed on UNO’s radio station next week and you can hear that our voices are different.

    Regarding the nickname you gave me, I have not had veal since I was 13 and realized how it was produced. But is was something my great aunt made twice a month until 1973. Perhaps you can call me Elephant Burger Marsala, that way I can use it to bring attention to the fact that 96 Elephants are poached per day for their ivory. Or maybe “No Eat Veal” Marsala.

    One of the things I point out when speaking is that the Tumulus under the former Lee Monument was to 11,500 men from Louisiana that did not return home from the War and have no graves for their families to honor them. These men were known as “Lee’s Tigers.” They were honored again by LSU with the mascot. I am confused as to how people will honor Lee’s Tigers with LSU Tiger memorabilia and oppose a Tumulus that does the same. Hence why I think using the Monuments to Educate is better idea than putting millions of art in a salvage yard.

    Please keep it a secret, but I did vote for Obama and Bill Clinton -once each.

    Today, I would rather be focusing on the Coastal Erosion and 8,400 Square Mile Dead Zone in the Gulf than reading the history of how and why of each monument, street, and public works building in NOLA is named. But it has been interesting to learn.

    Do you know Jean Lafitte’s first pirate activity was to steal 170 slaves in the Caribbean and sell them for $170.00 each in NOLA? Or that P.T. Barnum owned 60 slaves and started his business when he bought a 160 year old slave named Joyce?

    Anyway, please address the inaccuracies in your post.


    Charles “Elephant Burger” Marsala

  3. FYI: In the 1930s-1940s my Grandfather fought Jim Crow Laws and the KKK. As a Sicilian, who knows the Island was ruled by the Moors of Africa for 500 years I have no reason to push “White Supremacy.” As an Silicon Valley Engineer, I think the Asians (who are not white) are the best at Code Writing, Medicine, and have governments that are over 5,000 years old. … Before the City Council and Mayor strips the city of millions in Art, I think their are other solutions that should be considered. … To classify me, without ever having called me, in the same group my Grandfather spent many years of his life battling, is offensive. … If you have an opinion on what to do with the stored monuments, the empty pedestals, and the remaining monuments to Slave Owners and Confederates, you can offer that without needing to insult someone whose ideas are different. I have set up several Facebook Pages including: Juvenile Human Trafficking; Awe News : Artists, Entrepreneurs, & Wildlife, ; and Save Nola Heritage. I did not set up a page to “Hawk wares.” However I did receive a $500.00 donation from the person that set up Forever Lee Circle and used it to create awareness for Modern Day Slavery. I am open to meet with you anytime.


    Charles Marsala

  4. Maybe we can use smash up the stored monuments, pedestals and remaining monuments and use them to help restore the coast, and you can really focus on what you say is important to you, Mr. Marsala, instead of misusing the word satire.

  5. Beth, I did propose a plan to the city to start recycling the 200,000,000 pounds of glass it dumps into landfills every year. The glass could be recycled into sand and placed into the Gulf. Put the focus is on removing the memorials to 11,000 men who did not own slaves and did not return from a war defending their homes from being burned to the ground. ….

    However, I do support your position that anything to the slave trading pirate Jean Lafitte should be smashed up. As well as the monument to Segregationist Mayor Chep Morrison (1946-1961) across from City Hall and to Mayor Walmsely, who in 1932 put the “White Supremacy” plaque on Liberty Monument. …

    But I look at Veterans from the U S Military and West Point Graduates in a different light. Three Civil Engineers wounded in the Mexican-American War. Three Engineers who created an infrastructure using Water, Rail, and public transportation for New Orleans to prosper. I could never smash $30 Million in art for a few pounds of bronze, I started politically on the Atherton California Art Committee and our chair’s theme was Art should be used to Educate….

    Now Peter, WWL has deleted the Text you are using above it your story and replaced it with the correct story, I hope you see fit to do replace your text with their corrected version:

    WWL’s updated Text:

    “Marsala is a part of Save Nola Heritage, a group that wants to educate and demand more transparency from the city about what it does with public art, such as monuments. It should be made clear, neither Marsala, or the group sell the beads, however, Save Nola Heritage has received a $500 donation from the sales.

    “We spent the money from the bead sales, we put banners on the monument itself. Robert E. Lee’s birthday was about two weeks ago,” he said.
    Marsala said the beads are not meant to be racist in any way. He wants them to serve as a reminder that Lee Circle still needs attention.

    “It should have been done before we have the mayors change office, as to what we are going to do with that area and where the money is going to come from to finish it,” he said.”

    Here is the link to the WWL Story: http://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/robert-e-lee-monument-mardi-gras-beads-spark-controversy/289-512661398

    So that both of you know: Robert E Lee wrote to his wife in 1856: “Slavery as an institution is Moral and Political Evil.” I think that is the most concise quote on the topic. Today 60,000 young girls are in Sex Trafficking in the U S. January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, New Orleans did nothing to announce that. The Bead gave us that opportunity. … Worldwide 30,000,000 people are in slavery. Some put the number at 40,000,000- in 1860 the number was 4 million in the U S and 20 million worldwide. …

    So I think we would have been better served leaving those statues in place with descriptive plaques and adding new monuments (which is what New York) chose to do. I you guys think empty pedestals are more attractive. I respect your opinion.

    PGT Beauregard in 1873 created a Unification Party in NOLA. He reached out to GOP African-American Lt. Governor C. C. Antoine (who is a hero of mine) and formed a bi-racial group of about 100 families. Their chant was “Equal Rights! One Flag! One Country! One People!” I think it should be noted how closely those words reflect the 1892 Pledge of Allegiance. … How thought provoking, if the that had been written in the Beauregard monument. Or that Beauregard, being aware of how Union General Banks burned Alexandria Louisiana to the ground tried to stop Sherman’s March to the Sea.

    Interesting is that Mitch in 2010 had a campaign slogan very similar to PGT Beauregard’s chant from 1873. Mitch chanted: “One Team. One Fight. One Voice. One City!” I just had an idea for a satire article. Look for it on “Save Nola Heritage.”

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