BATISTE: N.O. Mayoral Candidates Can’t Skirt Monument Issue

The top names in the race for New Orleans mayor are all trying to avoid the topic of removing historic monuments.  This is egregious.  Currently, the City of New Orleans has four priceless artifacts in storage that were taken down in unannounced monument removals, most at night, all using city resources.  In all the City has admitted to spending $2.1 million, but that figure does not include salaries of City Hall staff such as Legal Department and Communications staff which were both prominently used since June 2015.

Landrieu still has control of the monuments until he is out of office.  And if the Mitchtator doesn’t unload them before he leaves office, one of these people will inherit the monument issue they think they should move on from.

In reading the comments in Tyler Bridges’ Advocate article, and the Advocate should be applauded for at least asking why it isn’t bigger in the election, these were answers from the candidates on removing the four historic monuments:

Desiree Charbonnet:
“They’re down. They’re probably going to stay down. The next move is to discuss what everyone can agree on to replace them.” Charbonnet said she was “emotionally supportive of them coming down. It seemed like that was the right thing.”

Michael Bagneris:
Bagneris said Landrieu should have put the decision to the city’s voters. “Everybody would have had a chance to express their view.  Whichever way it would have come down, people would have been satisfied.” Bagneris declined to say how he would have voted. Asked for a clarification of his views, he chose to have a spokesman issue a written statement. “At this time there is nothing further to say on the subject as it distracts from the real issue facing our city: solving the violent crime problem.”

Troy Henry:
“At the end of the day, it’s a done deal. I want to move forward in unifying the city. That’s my real message. They’re done. They’re gone. I want to see the city unified.” Henry said he supported the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place monument. “It was a tribute to something heinous. The other ones, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about the details and backgrounds of those folks,” meaning Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard.

Latoya “Can’t Tell” Cantrell:
Cantrell was the most adamant in criticizing the monuments, calling them symbols of “segregation and discrimination.”

Based on these comments, Bagneris and Henry stand as the only two that sound reasonably on the side of monument supporters, although that is entirely unconfirmed.  Charbonnet and Cantrell must not be interested in the vote of monument supporters.

WWL & The Advocate conducted a poll that found in metro New Orleans, 64 percent opposed the monuments’ removal. 18 percent supported the idea. 12 percent were undecided.

The Advocate article on the mayoral candidates noted the 36 percent of white voters in New Orleans.  That implies this divide runs down racial lines, which it does not.

But the candidates’ attempt to hush monument talk ignores the radical left extremists.  The Antifa crowds of silly dressed millennials have inserted themselves into New Orleans and thus the politicians cannot and should not ignore them.  Nor should they ignore extremists like Malcolm Suber and Take Em Down NOLA.  Suber recently wrote this in a socialist rag:

Take ‘em down NOLA’s next move is to fight to get an ordinance passed that declares that New Orleans is going to be a city free of white supremacy-public monuments, based on the principle of being anti-racist and anti-white supremacist. We’re pushing to get that passed and we will continue our public agitation to take down the Andrew Jackson statue. It’s the most prominent Confederate monument left standing and the most popular among white supremacists, and if we can get that taken down the others will probably follow in order.

These comments overflow with ignorance, but their mission is unchanged.  Take Em Down wants street name changes, they want private institutions, schools, and anything else they deem “white supremacist” to be gutted from the public to prevent more harm to their sensitive snowflake feelings.  It may sound ridiculous, but they continue to push, all the while chanting, “We won’t get no satisfaction till we take down Andrew Jackson.”

The Advocate followed up the mayoral story with a column by Stephanie DisGrace in which she said reality is setting in for everyone, tacitly echoing the candidates saying let’s move on.  “Now that the monuments are gone, their fate is no loner an ongoing controversy. It’s now just another old war.”  DisGrace should know it’s ongoing, an “old war” does not provide any protections.  The past is frequently up for judgement according to liberals like her.

DisGrace is wrong on another point, she’s just too blinded to see it.  By publishing the story, the Advocate just started the monument issue with the candidates, they are not eulogizing it.  And her boss should be shaking his head at her lack of perspective and reality.  The Advocate started the campaign monument talk, now it’s time to cut through to what type of a city these candidates envision.  Will New Orleans be a city that removes Treme because Claude Treme owned slaves and murdered a slave?  Will it be a city with new street names coming to Lakeview because Bragg, Lane, Mouton, Robert E. Lee, and Walker are now judged to be white supremacists?  Will we take down the World War I memorial because names on it are segregated?  The Buffalo Soldiers killed Indians, same as Old Hickory, will the monument to the black cavalry be removed and put in proper context?

The candidates made their first monument comments.  Latoya is a waste of time, she spoke out in favor of saving the monuments in 2015, then voted for their removal and tried to explain it with some “I didn’t feel like the process was handled well” excuse that no one accepts.  Desiree was wishful thinking, she clearly stated that she supported the removals.  Monument supporters can only hope that Henry and Bagneris come out pro monument.

The monuments, as an issue, are far from over.  Four monuments sit in city warehouses.  Empty pedestals make the city seem empty, scarred.  And these people running for a leadership position are afraid to take a stand.  They should state a position and let the voters decide their fate.  The monument issue is important.  This mayoral election has the potential to erase Andrew Jackson from Jackson Square.  The monument issue is significant.

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