BATISTE: Will Mitch Landrieu Out-Muscle City Park Board For Beauregard?

In removing the historic monument to G.T. Beauregard, Mayor Mitch Landrieu took that which does not belong to him.

According to City Park Improvement Association board member Paul Masinter and board executives Steve Pettus and Bob Becker, plans are in the works to relocate the Beauregard monument to the Greenwood Cemetery.

“All of the board members I’ve spoken to have expressed support in moving forward and trying to get a positive solution to the statue, so the park can move forward and remember the statue in a positive way,” Masinter told the Mid City Messenger who broke the story Wednesday.

Beauregard was a Louisiana Civil Rights leader.  The St. Bernard-born, West Point-educated, New Orleans resident worked to advance race relations through the 1873 Louisiana Unification Movement.  For his military career, engineering work, personal, and political identities, he was arguably the most historically significant Creole to ever live.

Landrieu’s unannounced removal of the 1915 Beauregard equestrian statue on May 16 was questionable. The mayor appeared to be overextending his reach. The park is city property, but the City Park Improvement Association has jurisdiction over the park. And the CPIA falls under the authority of Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser’s office.

The removal also came amid legal attempts to delay and halt the anticipated take down. New documents arose regarding property  ownership while the Louisiana veteran still rode tall. Nungesser and Attorney General Jeff Landry requested that Landrieu wait until the proper research was executed. But Mitch went ahead and plucked the respected Creole from the City Park owned pedestal.

In doing so, Landrieu thrust the City Park board into the fire. Monument supporters are actively boycotting the park. Board members have had their contact info spread around social media. Mitch put them in a very unpopular position by pulling the removal stunt in their front yard. Of course the board tucked its collective head in the sand.

Oddly, CPIA just admitted it will control the future of “Beauregard Circle” yet it never took any position on protecting the Park’s own historic monument. But now a rift appears to have grown between the City Park board and Landrieu. Meanwhile Nungesser is noticeably absent as Landrieu continues to strong-arm the board.

The current situation shows that Mitch overstepped his bounds, like a power-drunk dictator, and stole iconic artwork–a monument on the National Register of Historic Places–that belongs to City Park. The board now seems to believe it had rightful control vis-a-vis having a say in Beauregard’s future.

Note the source article indicated several times that the agreement is not final. The Mayor’s communications team said to both Mid City Messenger and WVUE Fox 8 that the city has no comment. Mitch will probably attempt a power move which in essence would be denying City Park its proper control of a valuable asset.

The CPIA board consists of a large, diverse, and politically appoiinted membership. They appear to finally be asserting their rightful control over the Beauregard monument, albeit two years too late. While this move to Greenwood Cemetery will infuriate many monument supporters, it would prevent the monument from ending up in Mitch Landrieu’s control. This is a move to take Beauregard back from the Mitchtator.

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