Here’s a question no one is asking in the debate whether to remove some of New Orleans’ most famous Civil War monuments: How much is this going to cost the people of New Orleans?
During a discussion about the history of New Orleans and the Confederacy at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, historian Molly Mitchell raised the question that you certainly will not hear being asked by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.
The monuments being targeted for removal for political correctness’ sake by Landrieu are: General Robert E. Lee Monument, known as Lee Circle, the General P.G.T. Beauregard Equestrian Statue, the Jefferson Davis Monument and the Liberty Monument.
Dismantling the Confederacy-related monuments could cost New Orleans thousands, even millions of dollars that the city does not have. Also, if the city wants to replace the monuments, how much will that cost? That would be an entire new round of public money going towards replacing four public squares.
Lee Circle, maybe the most famous monument in question, is at an even higher risk when it comes to dismantling the monuments. According to Mitchell, the Robert E. Lee statue was erected in multiple parts, possibly eight different parts.
Therefore, removing Robert E. Lee would be all the more dangerous, begging the question, how could the city remove the statue without damaging it significantly?
Do not think that any of this has been talked over with the Landrieu administration. As far as the Hayride knows, Landrieu’s administration has not met or spoken with any prominent historians in New Orleans to pick their brain and hear what they would do with the public squares.
As Mitchell genius-ly put it, New Orleans is a historical archive and good archivists do not just throw out historical pieces simply because they disagree with them.
So what would these historians do with monuments like Lee Circle?
Historian Laura Rosanne Adderley said her plan include not removing the existing monuments, but potentially adding to them, so that all perspectives of the Confederacy and Civil War are included.
Adderley and Mitchell both admitted that this too would cost the city money, but that it is a much better alternative rather than purging the history of the historical landmarks.
Confederacy-related symbolism first came into question by Landrieu and the politically correct crowd after Dylann Roof, the Charleston AME Church shooter, was pictured with a Confederate flag on his Facebook page.