A Sad Day in NOLA
A federal judge ruled last week that four monuments related to the Confederacy will be removed in New Orleans. The mayor, Mitch Landrieu, said he was “pleased” with the ruling. No time frame was given as to when the monuments would be removed, but Landrieu said they would be stored in a city-owned facility until they find a permanent home: most likely a privately-owned park. The monuments targeted are of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, and Liberty Place. The mayor refused to send the monuments to Beauvoir, the post-Civil War home of Jefferson Davis, in Biloxi, Mississippi.
US District Judge Carl Barbier denied to issue an injunction that would have prevented the mayor from removing the monuments. After the New Orleans City Council vote, with only one council member voting to keep the monuments in place, the city received a federal lawsuit from several preservationist groups: the Monumental Task Committee (MTC), Louisiana Landmarks Society, the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and Beauregard Camp No. 130. These four groups all cited that because the MTC has kept up the monument spaces for decades with no charge to taxpayers, they should have a say in the monuments’ fate.
Landrieu has been the biggest instigator in removing the monuments after receiving funds from an anonymous donor. Last year, he worked to insure that the monuments would be removed no matter what, and the reason given was because, all of a sudden, they have become a “public nuisance.”
Walter Isaacson, Wynton Marsalis, Flozell Daniels and Carol Bebelle have all be vocal about their support for removing monuments in the city and have all been appointed to serve on the Tricentennial Commission.
Now that this has happened, I have to wonder how much longer other landmarks in NOLA will be safe. How long before they destroy General Beauregard’s home? Or the house where Jefferson Davis died? Or the Confederate Museum? I suppose they’ll re-name them all, along with Confederacy-related street names, just to avoid offending someone. What about the scores of people offended by their actions? Doesn’t that count for anything? You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but trying to eradicate history is nothing less than shameful.
(Special thanks to Jim Huffman.)