…and his 4th of July speech demanding the removal of historical monuments in New Orleans, let’s take care of that now.
Morial, speaking at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, said he wanted to turn Lee Circle into Tricentennial Circle. Sounds like a real tourist hotspot, no?
“A great idea would be to take and convert Lee Circle to Tricentennial Circle,” Morial said. “Let’s turn that circle into a celebration of the city’s 300 anniversary. Those symbols represent division. I don’t think Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard really had ties to the city.”
Owen Courreges absolutely went off on the latter part of the statement yesterday in a must-read piece at Uptown Messenger…
Apparently Morial’s grasp of Civil War history, even as it directly concerns the city he led for two terms as mayor, is just as lacking as his humility. While Lee had no major ties to New Orleans in particular, Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans and was originally buried here.
P.G.T. Beauregard, on the other hand, was born and raised in New Orleans. He primarily spoke French, and only learned English as an adolescent. One of his nicknames in the military was “Little Creole.”
Beauregard retired to New Orleans after the war and had his citizenship fully restored. He subsequently turned down offers to lead the armies of Brazil, Romania and Egypt. Instead, he eventually became the commissioner of public works for the city. In 1894, Beauregard died and was buried in Metairie Cemetery.
But of course Morial is completely ignorant of all of this. He’s a gigantic advertisement for the rationale behind Landrieu’s push to scrub all monuments of Confederate leaders from the landscape: simplistic thinking and wholesale ignorance of history.
Nobody could actually expect Marc Morial to know anything about New Orleans’ history, after all. Marc Morial was only mayor of the place for two terms. And he didn’t fool with all that history stuff much when he was in office – it was a distraction from he and his minions stealing everything that wasn’t nailed down.
How he’s managed to avoid federal prison in the aftermath of that eight years is something we would put forth as a candidate for Eighth Wonder of the World, but we’ll leave that be for now.
But three things continue to stand out to me while watching the foolishness with the statues unfold in New Orleans.
First is the relatively universal condemnation of the idea of destroying the city’s heritage and historical patrimony outside of the insane Hard Left (John Binder addressed that topic yesterday here at the site) and the #BlackLivesMatter crowd. Except there’s a problem – most of the people who look at this whole thing as a stupid idea aren’t in Orleans Parish.
For example, this is in Metairie at the foot of the Causeway, and it’s fantastic…
But it’s in Metairie. And even though there are lots of folks from St. Tammany who will drive past it on the way to work inside the city, those folks don’t vote in Orleans Parish.
So short of there being a state law which would put a stop to Landrieu’s ISIS act with the city’s historical treasures, all these horrified people really can’t do a lot. The guess here is that most black people in New Orleans think this is nuts, but the political class in the city is dominated by the Hard Left and they’re all about eliminating anything that would make people feel bad.
Bringing us to Thing #2, which is something I thought of last night. Namely, what do Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard have in common?
If you said they were all Democrats, you win the prize.
And while all three were very complicated people, as most great men are, with great virtue and talent to go with some icky things that the overgrown children in New Orleans’ political class don’t like, they represent something which is unquestionably true – namely, that the secession and the Confederacy was wholly and completely a Democrat project, as was black slavery in the South and as was segregation and Jim Crow.
And so to scrub the history of New Orleans is also to scrub the racist, inhuman history of the Democrat Party.
Which is one more reason to leave those monuments exactly where they are. You dump them in favor of some ugly modern art contraption, which we all know is what would be coming in those spaces, and you’ve eliminated public evidence of what the Democrat Party has done and been. If Lee and Davis and Beauregard were so terrible, why do their philosophical descendants get a free pass?
Look specifically at the Liberty Monument, the fourth of the monuments Landrieu wants to remove. What does it mark? An 1874 armed insurrection by the White League, the Louisiana Democrat Party’s paramilitary wing, in an effort to seat a Democrat governor at the then-state capitol in New Orleans. The insurrection was put down by the arrival of federal troops sent by President U.S. Grant, who installed Republican governor William Pitt Kellogg. But in 1891, after Reconstruction ended and the Democrats were fully in control of the state, and amid a full-scale project to enact a white supremacist agenda statewide, the monument was put up at the foot of Canal Street.
From the standpoint of history, the Liberty Monument could hit the road and we wouldn’t care. What it marked was an event of mediocre significance in New Orleans history and by current standards the point of view of the erectors isn’t a particularly legitimate one.
And yet we damn sure ought to be reminded who the Democrat Party is and where they come from. That monument is a great reminder. Particularly this inscription that the Democrats added in 1932…
“[Democrats] McEnery and Penny having been elected governor and lieutenant-governor by the white people, were duly installed by this overthrow of carpetbag government, ousting the usurpers, Governor Kellogg (white) and Lieutenant-Governor Antoine (colored).
You want to say the Democrats aren’t a bunch of racists anymore? That they don’t divide people the way they used to, so the Liberty Monument doesn’t represent them?
Really? Who’s ginning up all this resentment and pissing people off for political purposes right now? Who’s out there insisting that sleeping dogs not be allowed to lie? It sure as hell isn’t Republicans.
The fact that Mitch Landrieu is a white guy doing this isn’t material, by the way. Mitch Landrieu’s constituency is mainly black people, and he’s dancing to whatever tune he thinks will make them happy. And declaring jihad against the Old Democrat Party is a damn good way to hide from that constituency the fact that the New Democrat Party isn’t all that successful in stopping violent crime or filling potholes or balancing a budget.
It’s all the same thing. 100 years ago, 50 years ago, Democrats ginned up racial trouble to hide the fact that they were running Louisiana into the ground. This isn’t any different.
Finally, this needs to be said again – I said it a couple of weeks ago when I first wrote about the stupidity of Landrieu declaring Robert E. Lee a “divisive” figure and it needs to be repeated in answer to Morial’s repeating that crap.
Robert E. Lee was not a divisive figure. Robert E. Lee was actually the most unifying figure in America in the latter third of the 19th century. He was outspoken in declaring that since the Civil War ended slavery in America the result was a good one, which was a breathtaking statement for the leader of the Confederate army to make, and he made no protest when his estate was taken and turned into what became Arlington National Cemetery. Lee, who had freed the slaves his family owned in the middle of the Civil War and before the Emancipation Proclamation (he had inherited them from his wife’s side of the family and couldn’t pay off his in-laws from their share of the estate had he immediately freed them) also devoted the last days of his life to molding Southern men committed to reconciliation with the North as the president of then-Washington College (now Washington & Lee University), and even expelled students for engaging in racial violence.
Does Mitch Landrieu know this? Does Marc Morial? The guess here is it doesn’t matter, because the constituency they represent doesn’t know it and the last thing they want to do is tell those people things they might not like to hear.
So instead, the history being taught in the public square in New Orleans is that the fleur de lis, the city’s prime cultural symbol, is a mark of slavery because runaway slaves were branded with it and it ought to be abolished. Forget about the fact that the fleur de lis has existed as a symbol of French culture for hundreds of years prior to runaway slaves in New Orleans and represents a whole lot more than just mean things slaveowners did; no, we’re going to let that be the central piece of our understanding of history in the city and the New Orleans Saints are now going to be a racist brand like the Washington Redskins are.
And the fact that at the time Robert E. Lee was considered the pinnacle of American gentility and character on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line – he was NOT tried for treason, despite all the people who inevitably show up to call him that, because it was widely accepted that to do so would be an affront to the country’s efforts to heal. And furthermore, given the impossible position Lee was put in at the outset of the war in which he was being asked to choose to fight against his friends and neighbors, an acquittal on such charges was a very real possibility.
You keep a statue of Robert E. Lee because you want to honor a man of such character, who was known as an exemplar of 19th century manhood and whom you can learn from. What would you learn from at “Tricentennial Circle?”