BAYHAM: Lots Of Questions About Mitch Landrieu’s Monument Mess

DETAILS SCANT ON MONUMENT REMOVAL shrieked the April 26th headline of the Times-Picayune.

Really?

Was it really just then the former residents of the now-vacated scribe hive on Howard Avenue began to wonder aloud about the lack of transparency throughout the mayor’s “Make History Gone Again” campaign?

Well in lieu of relying on the local established and out of state owned “fawn news” to make the most basic of inquiries, allow me to pose some that have yet to be answered.

Why were firemen utilized to dismantle the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk?  Were they on the clock or paid overtime?  And if so, did anyone take their place on their shift?

In a meeting with the Times-Picayune, Landrieu claimed that they were present for Homeland Security reasons.

It’s true firemen serve as first responders and are involved in large scale crisis management but as for their role in Homeland Security, their forte is mitigating toxic chemical spills and evacuating people, not stone monuments.

And firemen are not hired goons to be used as muscle in advancing a political agenda.  They are trained professionals who often arrive at the scene of medical emergencies before ambulances.

Under which ordinance is the city allowed to conceal from the public the identify of a contractor performing work on a public site and paid for with public dollars?

Was the decision to have police snipers dressed like ISIS fighters really about security or as an intimidation tactic to those who protest the removal of the monuments?

And why do the voices of fringe radicals like the Marxists and racialists who represented Landrieu’s lone amen corner count for everything yet people who have invested economically and philanthropically in the community like Frank Stewart marginalized?

I’ll add that Mr. Stewart has done more for the city in a day than the professional race hustlers and political agitators have done in their collective lifetimes.

The city government declared these well-maintained memorials a nuisance.  How is the equestrian statue of PGT Beauregard more of a nuisance than the myriad of dilapidated structures littering central city and the 9th Ward that are used as bases for drug dealing and prostitution?

How is the once esteemed memorial to General Beauregard more of a fire hazard than the crack shacks that are adjacent to shotgun houses occupied by low income families? I can see a stronger argument for burly firemen taking an ax to these blighted structures than a fireproof mass of granite.

Also in the mayor’s talk with the Times-Picayune, Landrieu said this isn’t political yet only days before he sent out an email that targeted people on a Democrat political email list to send their personal information to his NOLA PAC.  A few days later that same NOLA PAC email contained a new message from Landrieu declaring that “President Trump can’t bully us! <Act Now>”.

Who does the mayor believe he is fooling (aside from the Times-Picayune)?

Since when did anyone but the most paranoid delusional denizens of the quirky Crescent City ever gaze up ay any of those statues and exclaim, “Look at those pillars dedicated to white supremacy!”?

Somehow these alleged monuments to the exultation of caucasians escaped the notice of New Orleans four black mayors, including the last guy who declared Nola a “Chocolate City”.

Also the best idea that Landrieu could think of for a replacement moniker for Lee Circle is the awkward sounding “Tricentennial Circle”?

I’ll give him points for conceptualizing something more ridiculous than the “rechristened/bastardized” name of the local minor league baseball team.  Babycakeplatz?

Anything new about the mystery donor and is he a potential recipient or his properties potential relocation site for the monuments?

And does laundering the pledged funds through the Foundation for Louisiana nonprofit somehow supposed to make this look more legitimate or the foundation less legitimate?

Finally, where will these statues and monuments end up permanently?

I have no doubt that they will be taken down at some point, so at this juncture I am primarily concerned with their disposition and the city’s ability to arbitrarily transfer, by either donation or sale, the monuments.

The operation has taken a turn for the personal, as if these century old historic landmarks have become a pod of white whales for a politician behaving more like Captain Ahab than mayor of the state’s most important city.

Dead bodies on the street should matter more than statues of dead Confederates on parkways.

Fixing the Municipal Auditorium, which until recently served as a hostel for vagrants, would have done more for tourism than knocking over works of art that serve as milestones in the city’s history that New Orleans will be purportedly celebrating next year.

But leaders don’t get celebrated on MSBNC talk shows and in the pages of the New York Times for accomplishing mundane tasks such as finishing up major recovery projects from the nation’s largest natural disaster.

Priorities.

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