Debunking The Narrative That New Orleans’ Monuments Are Not A Distraction From Crime Problems

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Aside from those words being the famous lines from the Wizard of Oz film starring Judy Garland, they’re also the motto of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration when it comes to crime.

Yesterday, in the New Orleans Gambit, the weekly published an article that was essentially a press release for the Landrieu administration. It’s as if Landrieu approved the article himself, as it downplayed the city’s crime problem, armed robbery problem, murder problem and violent crime problem.

But, there was one particular portion of the article that stuck out: The mention of crime problem as it relates to the debate over whether or not to remove four historical monuments in the city.

This is how the author of the Gambit piece explains it:

Why is the city spending so much energy on Confederate monuments instead of public safety?

It’s not. That’s a rhetorical straw man pushed by some monument supporters and online commenters, but it has no basis in reality.

Landrieu has held multiple news conferences about crime issues in recent weeks, and none about the monuments. The City Council held a public hearing on the robberies on Oct. 2, but has spent little time on in the monument debate since referring it to committee back in July. And the two city agencies that have dealt with the monuments, the Historic District Landmarks Commission and the Human Rights Commission, essentially have nothing to do with crime in the city.

Apparently, press conferences solve crimes now. Though the media would prefer to believe that complete and utterly stupid fallacy, press conferences simply give the illusion that Landrieu is solely focused on crime.

Except, that’s a distortion of the facts.

The “some monument supporters” actually refers to the nearly 7,000 members of Save Our Circle, a grassroots movement dedicated to saving all historical monuments in New Orleans.

And the “online commenters,” we’re assuming, refers to myself and the Hayride, who has broken more stories on the monuments debacle than all of the other New Orleans media outlets combined.

The author goes on to say that “Landrieu has held multiple news conferences,” again those solve crimes now apparently and help reduce the crime problem, according to the media.

Oh, but this is the kicker. Landrieu hasn’t held any press conferences about the historical monuments.

Has it ever occurred the Gambit that maybe Landrieu is working behind closed doors, as he has the entire time, on the monuments removal. If the New Orleans media paid any attention to our reporting at the Hayride, they would know that this issue has been pushed entirely behind closed doors.

The meetings Landrieu held excluded the media on the issue. The ’60-day discussion period’ on the monuments was actually not about discussing the issue, but rather buying Landrieu time to decide how he would go about removing the monuments, according to sources close to the Hayride.

And, not to mention, the city has dished-out thousands of dollars to the upkeep of the monuments, only so they can claim that they are nuisance. And the NOPD Chief has cited protests at the monuments, which were only after Landrieu incited those protests.

This idea that the monuments have  wasted no time based on the notion that Landrieu has not held press conferences discussing them is absurd. Of course Landrieu has not held press conferences on the issue.

Monument removal is the most divisive issue in the city and the media has willfully ignored it. Why on earth would Landrieu publicly hold a press conference on an issue that puts him at odds with more than half of the residents of the city? It would be politically ignorant.

The Gambit piece goes on to say that only two city agencies have dealt with monument removal: Historic District Landmarks Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

That’s a complete lie.

The New Orleans City Council has discussed and debated the issue. The NOPD Chief has sent a letter demanding the monuments be removed. The Vieux Carré Commission has wasted time on the issue. The New Orleans City Council still has to waste time and vote on the issue. The Department of Property Management wrote a letter demanding the removal of the monuments. The City’s Attorney Office which dedicated time to creating a “summation” of reports to turn into a nuisance claim. The Landrieu administration has had to waste time in finding some ‘private donor’ to pay for the monuments to be removed. And taxpayers in the city will likely get the bill on the storing of the monuments if they are removed.

That is time, energy and money that has already been put to use on the monument removal debate, instead of taking all that time, energy and money and focusing on the city’s real problem which is an out-of-control crime problem.

The local media in New Orleans has been absent in the monument removal issue, leaving it to us little “online commenters” and “some monument supporters” like the thousands-strong Save Our Circle to discuss and expose the issues.

Like just earlier in the month when WWL-TV tried to completely cover up the fact that even black voters in New Orleans are not on-board with Landrieu’s plan to remove the four monuments.

The media will keep doing what they do best, which is being a lapdog to the Landrieu administration.



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