May 012017
 
Owen Courrèges

Owen Courrèges

You don’t expect a professional Poker player to inadvertently reveal his hand. His face may betray him, or his confidence morph into hubris, but any experienced professional keeps his cards close. A novice is far more likely to sputter and fumble, ultimately exposing himself to the other vultures at the table.

This brings us to Mayor Landrieu. In the game of politics, Landrieu is supposed to be a consummate professional, a scion of a local political dynasty. Lately, however, in his management of the controversy over his scheme to raze four monuments, he’s been behaving like a rookie.

Mayor Landrieu started the removal process exactly a week ago when he sent a crew out in the wee hours on Monday to tear down the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place. The removal was treated as though it were taking place in an urban war zone. Workmen wore masks and paramilitary-style uniforms. NOPD snipers lined nearby rooftops.

The entire scene was more evocative of Beirut than the French Quarter.

Nobody knows who paid for the removal, and it later came to light that New Orleans firefighters were utilized in the face of strong opposition from their union. It has since become a PR disaster for a mayor obsessed with his own image and legacy.

Even for many of those favoring the removal of the monuments, the entire approach appeared to be overkill. There was no transparency whatsoever, and no credible threats existed to warrant such extreme security precautions. The sight of masked men arriving in the dead of night to take down a century-old monument was, to put it mildly, not the type of incident that advocates of free and open government support.

Moreover, it’s not clear why the removal itself was so pressing. The Liberty Place Monument had already been moved over 25 years ago from its position of prominence at the foot of Canal Street and later placed in an inconspicuous location behind a parking garage. It was simultaneously emblazoned with large plaque that effectively changed the meaning of the monument – from that of a triumphal celebration of a blow against Reconstruction to a memorial for the lives lost and a cautionary tale for future generations.

Taking the additional step of removing the monument entirely seemed like more of an effort to scrub the historical record for the sake of political posturing than an earnest attempt to right old wrongs.

However, the story doesn’t stop there. After forking over a mountain of chips, Mayor Landrieu attempted a salvage operation that consisted of going on the talk show circuit to defend his actions. The results were hardly impressive.

By Friday, Landrieu had finally snapped. After years of keeping mum on his plans for Lee Circle following the removal of Robert E. Lee’s iconic statue, Landrieu revealed that he would be picking from a grand total of five options for the revamp. Each seemed worse than the last.

First, Landrieu suggested placing an American flag on top of the existing pedestal and renaming the circle “Lincoln Circle,” an exercise in trolling worthy of the angriest, greasiest, and most angst-ridden teen on an internet message board. Lincoln was a spectacular president and, above all else, a conciliatory figure in the wake of the Civil War. Using his name to give the middle finger to those who supported retaining Lee’s statute as a memorial to the Confederate war dead – well, it exhibits a total lack of class to say the least.

Secondly, Landrieu proposed installing a natural gas flame to commemorate all war dead in history. This saccharine proposal, so blatantly lacking in conceptual focus, may as well have been for a memorial for all “good things” (you know, as opposed to all “bad things!”).

Thirdly, Landrieu actually proposed replacing the entire Lee monument with “a field for soccer or other activities,” despite the fact that it rests snugly inside a high-volume, multi-lane traffic circle in the Central Business District. If we’re going to put amenities like that in such a location, we should consider renaming it “Dead Child Circle,” because that’s what’s we’re going to get when a whole soccer team full of kids try to cross.

Fourthly, Landrieu proposed simply removing the statute and leaving everything else the same, which would look terrible. Obviously he wasn’t seriously proposing that.

So what was Landrieu actually proposing? It’s an old trick to propose a bunch of bad ideas to make your preferred option appear palpable, and by limiting our options, that’s exactly what Landrieu is pulling here. To wit, his last suggestion was to “replace the monument with a beautiful fountain and public art to create a Tricentennial Circle.”

Admittedly, that certainly sounds a great deal better than a middle finger, a bland tribute, a deadly soccer field, or a blank pedestal. However, it will also cost money – a whopping $10 to $15 million to be precise.

Landrieu makes no bones about preferring the “Tricentennial Circle” plan. “It represents Katrina,” Landrieu gushed to reporters. “It represents water as a life-giving force. It represents light. It represents aspiration and creates something that’s worthy of Paris and worthy of New Orleans.”

And what about the cost? It’s almost certainly true that your average New Orleans resident would prefer their tax dollars to go to repairing essential infrastructure than revamping a downtown traffic circle for the Tricentennial. In answering that question, Landrieu became positively flippant and revealed his disgust for the concerns of ordinary New Orleanians.

“Where are we going to get the money from? Maybe we can put some public money up if everybody doesn’t yell and scream about ‘You ought to be filling potholes with that money.’

Landrieu’s words drip with condescension. How dare those grubby plebs complain about the quality of the roads when the Caesar demands tribute to build another statue to his own magnificence? Don’t they know their place?

I’ve been down countless roads in New Orleans so deteriorated that they seriously inhibit access for emergency vehicles. Our water is still largely supplied by lead pipes. Stop signs go missing for months on end. We have power outages whenever there are thunderstorms. Finding shallow comfort in gallows humor, we responding by laughing about how government services are comparable to the Third World. I suppose it’s easier than facing the reality.

In the midst of all of this, Mayor Landrieu has the unmitigated gall to mock the concerns of those he represents. He has made it abundantly clear that legacy-seeking crusade is more important than serving the people, that his crabbed, divisive view of a handful of historic monuments eclipses all other concerns. From government transparency to the cost-effective use of public funds, there is nothing Landrieu will not sacrifice to get his way.

His hand has been tipped. The only question now is if anyone will call.

Owen Courrèges, a New Orleans attorney and resident of the Garden District, offers his opinions for UptownMessenger.com on Mondays. He has previously written for the Reason Public Policy Foundation.

  • Fanaafi Fauese Mapuna Chapman

    That you sir, for standing and voicing what thousands, no millions of people around Louisiana and the entire country think of this dangerous lunatic.

  • Kimberlee

    Yep. We’ve got a legacy alright. A terrible, violent, brutal, racist legacy that poisons our city to this day and for some god awful reason we are still celebrating it with public monuments in 2017. How about we erect some monuments to the African Anerican, Creole, Hatian, and African citizens who contributed to our city’s greatness? We have lots of choices. Potholes are more important than that? Really? I think you just showed your hand actually. So what’s our excuse for not filling the potholes for the last 50 years?

    • Owen Courrèges

      Kimberlee,

      >>How about we erect some monuments to the African Anerican, Creole, Hatian, and African citizens who contributed to our city’s greatness?<<

      I'm fine with that. Where are the private monument organizations raising funds for those monuments? You see, in New Orleans, monuments are normally funded by private groups. Especially now, when public funds are tight, there is no reason to force taxpayers to pony up the dough when nobody shows enough interest to raise private money.

      The city did actually erect a civil rights memorial in a prominent location on Claiborne during Mayor Landrieu's term. Want to see what that looks like? Here you go:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9a9c26db3af67ecbb6afe507dd7f599d1ecb8b69b13aa7abf60100eea8d4b40e.jpg

      Pathetic, isn't it?

      Oh, and I'm not sure I understand your argument about how we should have been able to fill the potholes because we haven't been busy building monuments at taxpayer expense. Please explain your logic there, because I don't think it follows. Obviously, our streets would be even worse if we had diverted funds to such projects.

      • Kimberlee

        Oooh one monument for civil rights and dozens erected to celebrate slavery and oppression. Well that makes it okay then. I’m pretty sure that if someone firebombed your car and sent you death threats you would consider it a credible threat. I’m shocked that you would act like that was no big deal Owen. https://www.google.com/amp/nypost.com/2016/01/21/contractor-hired-to-remove-confederate-monuments-finds-lamborghini-torched/amp/

        • Owen Courrèges

          Kimberlee,

          You don’t seem to be listening. Monuments are normally privately-funded. If somebody wants to erect one, they start a non-profit, appoint a board, and raise funds. If there are few civil rights memorials, it’s partially because nobody has bothered to take the effort to raise money for them.

          Furthermore, you’re wrong in claiming that there are “dozens” of Confederate monuments in the city. There are only a handful. There are also a handful of civil rights monuments. Across from that horrible monstrosity that Landrieu built (pictured in my last post) is a tasteful bust of Martin Luther King. Further down the street at OCH is another Beetlejuice-esque statue to memorialize MLK. I’m sure there are others; those are just the nearest to me. The problem is that our civil rights memorials have not been very good, not that they don’t exist.

          As far at the “firebombing” of some guy’s Lambo who headed a company that ultimately abandoned the removal contract… Well, apparently I now have to speak in all caps: THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE IT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE MONUMENTS CONTROVERSY.

          • Kimberlee

            Owen, you think I’m not listening but you are missing the whole point!

            This isn’t an argument about economics. It’s a plea for civility and humanity, and no one who supports keeping them here is ever willing to acknowledge the pain that these monuments represent. To suggest that these hateful symbols of oppression should just remain there because potholes are more important is so incredibly insensitive.

            There’s no 9/11 memorial statue of Bin Laden or the Sandy Hook killer for a reason. We wouldn’t put one up and say oh well, that’s our history folks. It’s just history and we have potholes to fix.

            WHY ARE WE CELEBRATING AND MEMORIALIZING HATE, OPPRESSION, RACISM AND SLAVERY IN 2017? Just take them down, put them in the Confederate museum if you want to keep them, and let’s move into the 21st century with some sensitivity and humanity.

          • Owen Courrèges

            Kimberlee,

            I still don’t think you’re listening. Your prior comment to which I was responding simply glossed over most of what I had said (as though I had never said it). I feel like I’m debating myself.

            I don’t acknowledge that these monuments represent “pain” or that they memorialize “hate, oppression, racism, and slavery.” That’s a hysterical response to statues that memorialize historic figures from America’s Civil War who were well-respected by a variety of persons on both sides of the conflict. The only inhumanity here is viewing everyone from the antebellum south as a vicious monster, instead of trying to understand the full context.

          • ChuckNoland

            LOL, you start out claiming there are no monuments to people of color and when you are shown to be completely ignorant on the subject you start yelling that people who don’t belong in your book burning crowd are evil horrible people. Telling people whom possess a different opinion that you that they support evil is the height of smug ignorance. Tearing down all of history doesn’t change that history. You don’t destroy art, you respond to it. History is so black and white to children.

    • The Goat

      There are monuments to Blacks, Creole, Haitian, and African citizens and also to other nationalities and races. We even have statues for Hispanic folks and French folks and plenty of other nationalities and groups. I’m sorry you are not educated on the great number of monuments and the rich history New Orleans has and the fantastic artwork in all of the monuments.

      • Kimberlee

        There are some, and they are all people who contributed positively to our great city! They are not citizens who bought and sold people like cattle, who lynched people to send a message, who waged wars of oppression that have lasting societal ramifications today. See the difference? We don’t erect monuments to serial killers. We don’t put up statues that celebrate criminals. I can’t believe this is such a difficult concept. It’s so depressing to hear people defend this as if it’s a benign issue.

    • reality check

      The legacy being created today is one of a Crow Jim era.

  • Uptown Resident

    Mr. Courreges carelessly writes, “Even for many of those favoring the removal of the monuments, the entire approach appeared to be overkill. There was no transparency whatsoever, and no credible threats existed to warrant such extreme security precautions. The sight of masked men arriving in the dead of night to take down a century-old monument was, to put it mildly, not the type of incident that advocates of free and open government support.”

    Previous contractors were repeatedly threatened, and personal property of contractors was destroyed in direct retaliation to the contractor being hired to remove the monuments. That is violent intimidation. It is terrorism. It is absolutely worthy of taking all precautions to ensure workers are not harmed while performing their work. The intimidation worked: H&O Investments of Baton Rouge pulled out as contractors last year, and the bid process had to remain secret in order to prevent harassment and intimidation from white supremacist groups intent on keeping the monuments in place. Please read up: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/03/confederate_statue_removal_in.html

    It’s frightening and it’s real. Attempts to belittle how divisive and violent RECENT history are only highlight how little some people
    with power and the correct color of skin have to fear. Tearing down the monuments is one small step in addressing a history of overt white supremacy in our city.

    • Owen Courrèges

      Uptown Resident,

      Some contractors that downloaded the bid documents claimed to have received some harassing and threatening phone calls, but there were no credible threats made.

      You are correct that one contractor out of Baton Rouge (H&O Investments) briefly accepted the contract but then backed out citing threats. Days later, the owner of the company, David Mahler, claimed that somebody burned his Lamborghini as it was parked outside. However, there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate that it was linked to the fact that his company had recently quit the monument project. I’m not sure why anybody against removing the monuments would have burned his car after his company already backed out. Moreover, what I find the most suspicious that a small local contractor could afford a Lambo and also left would leave it parked outside.

      In short, I’m taking all of these hysterics about safety with a grain of salt. When anything is controversial, some cranks are going to send in threats to one side or another like clockwork. But such threats are common and generally not regarded as credible.

      On the other side, we have the Antifa crowd and assorted far-left groups that have been yelling threats and obscenities at monument defenders, and have also gone on destructive rampages when protests are held (I seem to recall “DIE WHITES DIE” being spray painted on the Lee Monument at one point). Nevertheless, you don’t see me ranting about how communist subversives are committing acts of terrorism in support of Landrieu’s program. It misses the point. This issue shouldn’t be decided by which radical fringe behaves the most deplorably.

      The only division here has been created by Landrieu’s proposal. There wasn’t a strong movement before now to remove these monuments, and they were not commonly viewed as icons of “overt white supremacy.” If they had been, previous black mayors would have pushed for their removal. The only steps we are taking now are towards further division. This isn’t healing any wounds; it’s creating new ones.

    • The Goat

      The only promises that were made to businesses that were going to take down monuments is that they would be boycotted. Since the majority of people in Louisiana and New Orleans are in favor of keeping the monuments or are indifferent to them that was a strong economic motivator. The civil rights struggle involved many such economic boycotts so you are calling those people terrorists too? This past weekend I saw peaceful black supporters of keeping the monuments assaulted by white Marxists that were part of Take ’em Down. Please tell me how in the city of New Orleans that is 60% black there exists any white supremacy? The voting power is 100% controlled by the majority population which is black and not white. The majority of people from New Orleans I know of all races, creeds etc. are in favor of keeping our historic monuments while the vast majority of people that want them down are outsiders and Marxist agitators.

    • Kimberlee

      Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you.

    • John McHann

      The FBI found there were no credible threats. And we all know nola.com isn’t biased….lol!

  • UptownDanny

    Thank you for this, Mr. Courreges. My sentiments exactly!

  • ChuckNoland

    And this is the man the NYTimes says could be president. I personally like the fountain idea so the homeless have someplace to bath and sit in during the hot weather. Regarding the third world roads, I once quipped the same comment to my foreign born wife and she instantly shot back that she had been to third world countries and many have better roads than us.

    • Deux amours

      The city fountains at Canal and Claiborne were abandoned when the homeless started using them.

    • R P

      I didn’t see that they had said that he could be President. What I saw was just that since a definitive outsider could win, as one has done in the person of the current occupant of the White House, that maybe he, as another sort of outsider personality, would give it a chance.

  • disqus_ain7Kk28WZ

    There is support for maintaining tributes to white supremacy. The Mayor is willing to bear their anger to do the right thing. It’s healthy to have a discussion about what, if anything, should replace the Confederate monuments. Mr Courreges’ rant doesn’t contribute anything positive.

    • Owen Courrèges

      disqus,

      But these aren’t “monuments to white supremacy.” That’s a narrow, heavily jaundiced view of preserving memorials to Confederate leaders. It’s also inaccurate.

      And as far as a “discussion” goes over what to replace the Lee monument, Landrieu has clearly forestalled that. It’s either the Tricentennial Circle thing or one of the other craptastic options. He’s artificially limited the entire debate to his own hand-picked choices. Do you really find that “healthy?”

      • disqus_ain7Kk28WZ

        See Frady’s response.

        • Owen Courrèges

          disqus,

          Ok. See my response to Frady. It expands upon the same point.

      • R P

        It probably isn’t ever going to be anything, seeing as what the city has to spend on items such as public art. Personally, if R.E. Lee has to go then I would like to see a memorial of A.J. Higgins, someone who did his part, for certain, to fight against definitive evil and who had a connection with the city and, most important, with the immediate vicinity, in the form of the World War II museum. Would the political correctness warriors of this world be satisfied with that, though?

    • reality check

      At the gitgo the white supremacy argument has been a red herring. Particularly in a city that elected Dutch Morial, its first black mayor, as early as 1978.

  • maxx785

    Does removing the statues fit in with these exercises in cultural imperialism/state censorship/wanton destruction?

    Taliban – blowing up Buddhist statues

    ISIS – destroying Palmyra

    Red Guards – tearing down ancient pagodas

    Adolph Hitler – burning ‘decadent’ art

  • bthayesesq

    Courageous, as usual, Mr. Courreges. Thank you for shining the light of truth in this one dark little corner of a quickly darkening world.

    • Phil Frady

      Apparently many folks never had the opportunity to study the history of these monuments. (none of us did as the facts were not in our history books). They were erected in the post reconstruction era, concurrent to the reemergence of white supremacy as the dominant political narrative and power structure in the old Confederate states, a time when laws were passed denying voting rights to former slaves, establishing “separate but equal” as legal doctrine, and putting into place laws that discriminated against former slaves in every aspect of commerce and employment. The statues were erected as a symbol of the reemergence of white power and intended to convey symbolically this fact. One solution is to establish a Garden of Reconciliation where the statues can be placed as part of an educational effort to educate and inform citizens and visitors as to the true nature of why these statues were erected. Then perhaps we can finally move past this shameful period of our history. One note, Robert E. Lee was quite explicit that no statues or memorials were to be erected to memorialize the Confederacy.

      • bthayesesq

        Phil Frady, as I’ve read thousands of books on the subject, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that I’ve forgotten more about the mid- to late-19th century history of our country than you’ll ever know. Regardless, let’s just pretend your argument has some merit. It’s still a complete non-sequitur. Correlation is not causation. Just because the Jim Crow era was going in earnest at the same time the statues were erected doesn’t mean the one had anything to do with the other. Since Coca-Cola was first invented in Atlanta by a former Confederate soldier around the same time and then first bottled in Vicksburg shortly thereafter — and we both know what the Yankees did to those two fine Southern cities — it is obvious that Coca-Cola was created to avenge the South’s destruction thru economic conquest; not just of Yankeedom but of the whole world. Or, of course, a guy from the South who fought for his country might’ve just been trying to make a buck (although his cocaine addiction did actually stem from pain-treatment for his wounds received during the Civil War). The other one I always love to hear from your ilk is how display of the Confederate flag by Southern states starting in the 1960s was contrived in direct defiance of the Federal government’s Civil Rights platform. Never mind the massive Civil War Centennial celebrations and state & national commissions and official proclamations of the early ’60s; and, while we’re at it, let’s completely disregard the actual ceremonies raising the flags declaring them to be a direct commemoration of the deeds of those States’ Confederate veterans. Liberals have an agenda here folks, and they won’t let historical facts stand in their way! But the most damning evidence of the preposterous nature of your argument is this: if the North erected thousands of monuments to Union generals and War Dead at the exact same time as the South did theirs, and legal segregation was alive and well in much of the North and West at the time, as well as the South (recall that Brown v. Board of Education was out of Topeka — as in Kansas), then why are all those other monuments not symbolizing white supremacy, too? Why don’t we just apply Occam’s Razor here and make the wild-eyed assertion that maybe, just maybe, people who erected monuments commemorating their war dead — in keeping with thousands of years of tradition and precedent — were actually doing just that, free of subtext, racism or malignant conspiracies.

        • R P

          Agreed. Why is it that people cannot just appreciate (or move one, if the piece is not to one’s own tastes) art for the sake of the art?

          • John Grey

            And a large number of people want them up. To take them down when a still large number of people respect the monuments is negativity. To save them is being positive. Why does the city and Leftists believe in negativity?

  • UptownLady

    Long may it remain LEE CIRCLE!

  • Deux amours

    Did you hear that one of the firemen on monument destruction duty was named Montag?

  • ILikeMokum

    Fantastic column, Owen. Totally agree.

  • Turlet

    Why does one radical nutcase ignorant of history get to destroy the historical treasures valued by a large portion of the city, the state, and the entire South? We can vote on an Audubon Zoo tax, but not something as important as this? This is the most disgusting and shameful thing I have seen the Democrats do in my lifetime, far beyond the bounds of civility and reasonable action.

  • Phil Frady

    Apparently the author never had the opportunity to study the history of these monuments. (none of us did as the facts were not in our history books). They were erected in the post reconstruction era, concurrent to the reemergence of white supremacy as the dominant political narrative and power structure in the old Confederate states, a time when laws were passed denying voting rights to former slaves, establishing “separate but equal” as legal doctrine, and putting into place laws that discriminated against former slaves in every aspect of commerce and employment. The statues were erected as a symbol of the reemergence of white power and intended to convey symbolically this fact. One solution is to establish a Garden of Reconciliation where the statues can be placed as part of an educational effort to educate and inform citizens and visitors as to the true nature of why these statues were erected. Then perhaps we can finally move past this shameful period of our history. One note, Robert E. Lee was quite explicit that no statues or memorials were to be erected to memorialize the Confederacy.

    • Owen Courrèges

      Phil Frady,

      I’m quite certain that I’ve studied the history of these monuments far more than you have, especially given your typically reductionist, heavily-biased view of the historical record that seems to want to distill everything to a single Manichean narrative.

      While it is true in the broader context that the monuments were actually erected after the end of Reconstruction, the same time when Jim Crow came into being, it is not the case that the monuments were simply erected to bolster white supremacy. Indeed, the Lee Monumental Association was founded immediately following Lee’s death during the Reconstruction era. Construction of the Lee Monument began as soon as funds were raised, which took several years. The other monuments to Davis and Beauregard followed the same timeline — the monumental association was founded after their death, funds were raised, and then the monuments were erected in a process that took years. This is consistent with monuments being erected to the men being depicted, not an ulterior agenda.

      Thus, I emphatically deny your suggestion that “[t]he statues were erected as a symbol of the reemergence of white power[.]” If they were, the figures chosen were hardly the best. Beauregard and Lee were both known as conciliatory figures who had opposed both slavery and secession. Beauregard in particular spoke in favor of civil rights and attempted to found an new political party that would appeal to both whites and blacks. It’s hard to fathom how a statue of Beauregard, in this well-known context, could have been considered a symbol of “white power.”

      I think your history is bad, and your proposal for a “Garden of Reconciliation” is an attempt to defame historical figures with a jaundiced, false historical narrative.

      Finally, I’d like to see where Lee came out against statues or monuments to memorialize major figures from the Confederacy. I’ve never seen any record of him saying that.

      • Phil Frady

        Ahh but Owen, history does not seem to be your strength son. The same folks who erected the statues were the same folks who led the fight to pass Jim Crow and voter suppression laws. BTW better go brush up on the term “reductionist thinking”, before you misuse it again. Also study up on the “Lost Cause”.

      • Phil Frady

        The statues were erected by the same political leaders who enacted Jim Crow laws, established “separate but equal” as law, and laws that discriminated against the former slaves in every aspect of commerce and employment.

        • John Grey

          It doesn’t matter who or why they were erected. Those who put them up are long gone. It matters why we want them to stay.And over 70 of Louisianans want them to stay where they are; for our reasons, to honor our ancestors who fought under them for a new country, just as had been done over 80 years prior.

          • Phil Frady

            of course it matters! It’s always best to know than to not know! My recommendation is to establish a Garden of Reconciliation where the statues can be placed as part of an educational effort to educate and inform citizens and visitors as to the true nature of why these statues were erected. Then perhaps we can finally move past this shameful period of our history. One note, Robert E. Lee was quite explicit that no statues or memorials were to be erected to memorialize the Confederacy.

        • RobertM320

          No, the statues were NOT erected by the political leaders. They were erected by private citizens and organizations. Any argument you make on that false premise is dead in the water.

    • Uptown Resident

      Thank you Phil Frady for bringing up some of the history of why these monuments are objectionable. I personally think the idea of a Garden of Reconciliation is a fantastic idea since there is so much reckoning with history to be done, and done in a way that brings the community together. Taking down the monuments erected during a time of oppression to glorify that oppression is step one.

      • R P

        What a crock. This “garden of reconciliation” is just an intermediate step (probably to be located well off the beaten path out somewhere in the east where no one will patronize it…which is obviously the idea) on the way to junking these highly valuable and historic pieces altogether. This community WAS together up until about 22 months ago and no one was in a lather of being afraid that “‘ol’ P.G.T. is gonna come back to life and get me….” What these SJW/political correctness crusader types running around (doing the work of the Almighty?) aren’t saying is that at that time in history almost all parks, public squares, public art, libraries, etc. was private philanthropy, and in the north as well as the south. Now, at that time, in New Orleans, was there anyone among the city’s movers and shakers who didn’t have at least some kind of association with the Confederate army or government? I am pretty sure that there could hardly have been very many. That was just that. So, does that necessarily mean that everything that they did, everything that they touched, had to have some kind of spiteful, racist intent…and needs wiped clean from the earth today as if it’s some kind of bacterial infection? It’s more like to me that it’s the very height of hubris for our current generation to be passing such judgment on ancestors. Let’s remember that we will be judged as we judge others.

      • RobertM320

        Uptown Resident, your argument again is built upon a false premise. By your view, if we had built the Superdome in the 1950’s, we should tear it down because it was built in the same era as segregation. Start again. The monuments never seemed to be objectionable for 100 years when people, black and white, chose to sit in front of them to see Mardi Gras Parades.

    • Turlet

      You say “we” as if everyone is included. You go move past history in your bedroom with the lights off, but don’t touch mine. Let’s see that MLK monument on Claiborne torn down.

  • woopata

    As I have said here before, the new crop of mayoral candidates should be measured by their commitment to making the basic city functions like infrastructure and safety a priority.

    • edinnola

      #bruskifornola. Check my Facebook page Bruski for NOLA.

    • Steve Leedy

      After seventy years I have heard every mayoral candidate say the same things. I’ll fix the streets, cut the crime rate, fix thi and fix that..guess what they never come through and everything just gets worse. Corruption is the norm in city government and little is done to stop it. I left the city years ago and moved to Jefferson and when there’s a water leak, it gets fixed right away. A street light out, within twentyfour hours itis usually fixed. We have some streets that could be better but nothing like the city where trees grow in potholes and barrels disapear. The military has proving grounds that aren’t that bad.

  • mississippidude

    Fully agree. This monuments removal stupidity is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not worried about concrete structures. I’m worried about crime, potholes, blighted properties, homeless people camping out in the french quarter… Landrieu is a special kind of ignorant.

    • Phil Frady

      so you have no interest in why the statues were erected? BTW your statement is known as a false equilvancy

      • RobertM320

        Phil Frady, try going back and reading newspaper articles from the day, and follow the process of these statues. For example the Jeff Davis statue was partly paid for with funds from the UDC, United Daughters of the Confederacy. The neutral ground there probably doesn’t even belong to the city, because it was donated in 1908 to the Jefferson Davis Monument Association. Most Civil War reunions over the years included both veterans from the North and South, and THEY considered each other with comparable respect as US War Veterans. I really doubt that the UDC was going around looking to erect statues to white supremacy. And if the people who actually FOUGHT in the war, AND the US Government, considered Confederate veterans equal to Union veterans, and made them US Veterans, this should all be ignored because some liberals are offended? Move on, fix the potholes and the crime issue.

  • reality check

    After all the uproar about the Russians meddling in our election, it is ironic to see a mayor who is a democrat being as transparent as Putin would be in putting down protests against his agendas. The amusing thing though is that the donors, contractor, and other removal details could probably be found out by anyone under the Louisiana Public Records Act, La. R.S. 44:1-41, and Article XII, Section 3 of the Louisiana Constitution. Discoverable public records includes virtually every kind of record kept by a local governmental body. I doubt that the Mayor advised the donors or the contractor of this when he was soliciting their removal help. Although it is usually the media who uses the public records act I seriously doubt that any of our local television stations or newsprinters would have the nerve to request donor or contractor or other hidden removal details.

  • Jonathon J. Rynning

    What is absent from these discussions is that the monuments honor men who are traitors. They all took oaths to preserve, protect, and defend the United States and its Constitution and then turned their backs on their country and took up arms against it.

    • George Lugo

      You are wrong. The South had already legally seceded. The North attacked their country first. They were defending their country (The Confederate States of America) from the North’s aggression.

    • R P

      Would you be in favor of the federal government demolishing the one-time home of Robert E. Lee, then (which has been restored and stands on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery), seeing as how you want to make such an issue out of how he was a traitor?

    • RobertM320

      To be a traitor means you’ve committed an act of treason. Treason means to attempt to overthrow the government, or to attempt to kill off the leader of said government. The Confederacy was interested in neither of these two things. Also, these soldiers were US war veterans before the Confederacy existed. They were also ALL pardoned by the US Government and restored to full citizenship and military veteran status. So, just what gives you, 100+ years later, the right to tell the US government and all the leaders over the years that they were wrong? Not your place. Ditch the “traitor/treason” BS line. It doesnt fly.

  • Mary Stevens

    Lincoln was responsible for the deaths of 600,000 American soldiers. To name anything for him would be a travesty. The war was not about slavery. Lincoln said many times that he would not free slaves if the South remained in the Union. He wanted the 40% tariff he was charging them. There is NO mention of slavery in the Louisiana Declaration of Secession. The Confederate soldiers consisted of whites, blacks, Native Ams, Jews, Hispanics so it was not about white supremacy. There were many freed slaves who had slaves themselves. Google Louisiana Nicolas Augustin Metoyer whose family at one time had over 200 slaves. Slaves were brought to America by the states of New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Rhode Is and Connecticut. Let these states pay for reparations. Also, the slaves here came from slave owners in Africa.

  • John Grey

    The statues were erected by our ancestors. They never had the means to erect the monuments after the war. It took them years to gather the money to build them. To take them down is a slap in the face to all of the veterans that the monuments represents. They are leaders of the army, meant to represent the people who fought under them and it’s a slap in the face to those soldiers who fought in the war.

  • Jack Khoury

    Isis does it. Why not them?