When Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans first announced his plan to remove Robert E. Lee Circle, City Park’s PGT Beauregard statue, the Jefferson Davis monument and the Liberty Place monument, the assumption was that the plan was spontaneous following the Charleston AME Church shooting.
Landrieu officially announced his request on June 24, then suddenly, two days later some of the most prominent powerful liberals jumped on-board with the plan, demanding the monuments be removed.
With the New Orleans City Council set to vote on the issue this Thursday, Dec. 10, here are three of the most elite, powerful liberals who have managed to stay in the background, but have ties to the issue.
New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet has a bit of a paper-trail, or in this case a news-trail, following him when it comes to the removal of New Orleans’ monuments. Baquet’s brother, Terry Baquet, is a top-editor at the Times Picayune, which Dean formerly worked for as well.
Just two days after Landrieu announced his plan to remove the four monuments in New Orleans, the New York Times ran a piece by liberal David Brooks (whom liberals claim is ‘conservative) demanding the monuments come down.
Similar to every other major media outlet, New York Times pieces on the monument debacle have been slanted towards the pro-removal position.
Dean Baquet was also part of a panel with Landrieu for The Atlantic which focused on New Orleans ten years after Hurricane Katrina.
Baquet’s influence on the New York Times and ties to the New Orleans area is what follows into the next powerful liberal profiled for this particular Hayride exclusive.
Walter Isaacson is possibly one of the most powerful liberals in the mainstream media. Not only does Isaacson have a powerful place in New Orleans through his work as the President of the Aspen Institute, but he also has a national network being that he’s held top position at TIME Magazine and CNN back in the 1990’s.
Just like David Brooks’ piece two days after Landrieu announced his plan for monument-removal, the Times Picayune released a piece by Isaacson on that same day.
In the piece, Isaacson acknowledges that he stands with Landrieu in demanding that, specifically, Lee Circle be removed and replaced.
As previously mentioned, it’s not too surprising that both pieces were released the same day, as the New York Times is run by Baquet, who has very close ties to the Times Picayune, and is apparently a friend of Isaacson, who said Baquet had a “friendly smile and deeply sympathetic soul” when he took over at the New York Times.
Isaacson is also a friend of Landrieu. So much so, that Landrieu has chosen Isaacson to be a part of the city’s Tricentennial Commission.
Whitney Plantation owner and New Orleans attorney John Cummings has denied any involvement in the monument debacle, but some sources say otherwise.
As the Hayride reported, a source said Cummings was asked by Landrieu to be the anonymous donor to pay for the removal of the monuments. Following that report, Cummings said he was not the donor and said he had no involvement with the issue.
Cummings is the famous owner of the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, which is the country’s first slave museum. Cummings bought the plantation back in 1998 after environmentalists went after a proposal to turn the land into a Rayon factory.
In an extensive profile by the Advocate of the slave museum by Cummings, Mimi Read explains that the New Orleans attorney wanted to “provoke moral outrage” with the slave museum.
“When you leave here, you’re not going to be the same person who came in,” Cummings told the Advocate at the time.
Cummings, a prominent donor to Democrats, helped get Governor-elect John Bel Edwards elected, working closely with his campaign, according to sources.
Interestingly enough, Edwards has previously said that if elected governor, he would not do anything to stop Landrieu from removing the four monuments. On the other hand, his gubernatorial opponent Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) said he would stop Landrieu from removing the monuments.
Cummings has remained out of the scene on the issue, but he and Landrieu do seem to have a good working relationship, as the New Orleans mayor praised Cummings’ efforts to open the slave museum in the past.