Buh-Bye General Lee?

The City of New Orleans finally has the go-ahead via court order to remove the monuments to the Confederacy at Lee Circle, the P.G.T. Beauregard statue at the roundabout in front of City Park at Wisner and Esplanade, and the Jefferson Davis monument on Canal at Jeff Davis Parkway (wait, maybe we should rename the street, too?).

All three of the statues are to be removed by contractors (to be selected by bid submitted to the city), with the bases and pedestals remaining in some cases, presumably to be replaced with statues that are more in line with anti-Confederate modern, anti-racist and politically-correct practices.

In an older blog, we recommended (as did our readers) the the Confederate heroes be removed and that city erect memorials to famous musicians (remember renaming Lee Circle as Toussaint Circle—I love that one). Wouldn’t we rather memorialize our music rather than our racist past? A good question: who’s going to make the decision on the replacement statues, anyway?

What’s really interesting about this court ruling (that approved the removal of the statues) is that there are troubling questions how the city will be able to insure the safety of the contractors who will win the bids to remove the statues. According to local newspapers, one contractor who had been selected to remove the monuments had his car torched, and other bidders who had responded to earlier proposals were threatened with boycotts and loss of business, mainly through social media.

Whether or not the threats on businesses via social media come to pass, it’s very troubling that posts generated enough hatred from people who oppose the warehousing of the Confederate statues to prevent the city from using the standard bid processes to remove them.  So the question is: how and when will the statues be removed at all?

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  • Louis Lince

    My feelings are probably contentious to you folk in New Orleans. We have a problem in the UK with Snowflake lefties who wish to be in “safe places” where those who oppose their views are not allowed to state them and wish to be left alone. People ignore history and, for example wish to take down a statue of Cecil Rhodes at an Oxford College (apparently it upsets people) The prime mover is a south african black man who is benefiting from a Rhodes scholarship (Hypocrite who takes the money) History happened….. and in the USA the events of the civil war are over a hundred years ago. I am a fairly frequent visitor to New Orleans and I don’t recall the Lee Circle statue ever being a bone of contention (until some loony snowflakes decided it was last year). For heavens sake grow up and concentrate on more pressing challenges such as Pot Holes and local transportation – to say nothing of Medical care for all.

    • 6th Generation NOLA

      The real problem is the right wing Snowflakes who want to live in a fantasy world where the Confederacy didn’t rightfully get its butt kicked in the Civil War. No one is saying that their views shouldn’t be heard, just that their views shouldn’t be given a prominent space on publicly supported lands. If they didn’t want to have their Lost Cause delusions supported by the taxpayer then this would not be an issue. They are free to build statues honoring whatever losers they like on their own property.

      I completely agree with you about Medicare for all though, and I do wish we would focus on more pressing issues than these statues of losers that a bunch of loser built 100+ years ago. That’s why it’s important that we take them down as quickly as possible.

    • Gene Marks

      You seem to be capable of ignoring the effect of these statues on the black population, snowflakes being as white as, well, snow. If you had an inkling of what it means to be black, you would have the intelligence needed to understand why these statues should be removed.

      • Louis Lince

        Gene, many of the “snowflakes ” here in the UK are people of colour (which I hope is an acceptable term). It’s a generic here in the UK for those in their late teens and early ’20s that need to be protected from the real world. As an example a leading Feminist Germaine Greer was banned from speaking to a university society by the snowflakes who didn’t like her views on transgender people

        • 6th Generation NOLA

          Yes, but what does that have to do with not wanting statues that commemorates a bunch of losers? The only snowflakes who need to be protected from the real world here are the revisionist clowns who want to be insulated from the fact that the South lost the Civil War.

  • ghall1929

    I was poisoned throughout my childhood by these disgusting statues glorifying the heroes of slavery and racism. New Orleans and its creolized population never deserved this humiliation. So I am delighted they will finally be removed. And I’d like to see them replaced not just but musicians but by the real heroes who fought slavery and racism like San Malo the Black troops who fought for their freedom and Roudanez. And the Black and white heroes and martyrs of Reconstruction. Yes, I support Medicare for all too.

  • G.E. Maynor

    This is outrageous. Political correctness rears it’s ugly head. These men were so much more to the history of the south than a war and deserve better. We had planned a trip later this year but I think we need to find something else. Since you’re in a removing mood, I have a few suggestions for you as well…

    • Gene Marks

      If this were a statue commemorating a slave uprising where hundreds of white men, women and children were slaughtered, would you feel the same way about removing it? Would you bring your children there? Would you be capable of explaining the symbolism? Now imagine that you’re black.

  • Tim D

    Most commenters here base their comments on a common misconception. Yes, slavery was a significant, major factor for the Civil War, but it was not the only reason. Yes, Lee led the Confederate Army. He turned down the offer from President Lincoln to command the Union army because he (Lee) as a Virginian could not/would not lead an armed military force against his home state. His decision was not based of the issue of slavery, it was based on his allegiance to his home Virginia. The majority of Confederate soldiers (80-90%) did not own slaves. The vast majority of Union soldiers were fighting to preserve the union. The notion that all Confederates were racists fighting to preserve the institution of slavery is totally inaccurate. The monument of Lee is a memorial honoring the man who led the Confederate army, not honoring a man who led the Ku Klux Klan. Their were many thousands of Louisianians in the Confederate Army, so it does have relevance to New Orleans. The misconception many base their comments on is based on the over-simplified and boiled-down version of why the Civil War War happened. It was not exclusively a war to end slavery, it was not that simple. The war did end slavery, it also established a much stronger Federal Government, which came at the expense of the individual states.
    The removal of Beauregard’s statue should be regarded as offensive to New Orleans citizens, especially those with Creole ancestry. It also will be surely missed for its artistic merit, given its location at the entrance of the NO Art Museum.

    • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

      Lee didn’t lead the Confederate Army, he led the Army of Northern Virginia. If you’re going to start peddling revisionist historical nonsense, at least get the basic stuff right. In any case, Erwin Rommel wasn’t a Nazi, but in leading a Wehrmacht army he used his great skills to expand the power of the Nazis, so the German people have had the good sense not to build any statues honoring him. The big difference is that the Germans have at least come to terms with the fact that they were the bad guys. The Old South has had no such realization and we’ve been suffering for it for over a century.

      The Civil War was not a war to end slavery, it was a war to preserve the Union. Secession, however, was about maintaining the abominable institution of slavery. Did squashing secession and ending slavery come at the expense of state’s rights? Absolutely. But if the Civil War proved anything at all it was that the federal government needed more power because, if they didn’t have it, Southern oligarchs would have continued to keep human beings as property. Anyone who thinks the Civil War was bad because of what it did to state’s rights is a clown who grossly undervalues the rights of millions of people who were kept as chattel. If the battle is between states’ rights and human rights, the righteous will side with human rights every single time.

      • Tim D

        Nonetheless, my point is that the war was not exclusively about the issue of slavery for many involved, therefore not all were involved because of that issue. The rank & file soldiers had other reasons to join up and fight, just as Lee and countless others. in addition, I will never agree that individual states didn’t have the right to secede, regardless of their motives to do so. The States diminished power/influence is not necessarily a good thing, our bloated Federal government is certainly not a good thing either.

        • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

          “I will never agree that individual states didn’t have the right to secede, regardless of their motives to do so.” This is something that only white people are capable of thinking.

          And while the war itself may not have been about slavery, secession was 100% about slavery and only slavery. The Declarations of Secession ratified by many of the seceding states make that abundantly clear and any claim otherwise is historical revisionism.

          • Tim D

            I’m confident that the founders/statesmen who initially agreed to form the original 13 United States would not have done so if it meant they could not exit that agreement at some point if it was not beneficial or did not meet expectations.
            You have basically agreed with me that “the War was not a war to end slavery”, your words not mine. Confederate Memorials were not intended as memorials to perpetuate the memory of slavery or to represent racist attitudes, but are monuments honoring those who fought and died for what they believed.

          • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

            The war was not about slavery, it was about preserving the Union. However, secession was about slavery and only slavery. It was the singular reason why the South seceded. This may have arguably been “legal” in a sense but that is wholly irrelevent when faced with the fact that millions of human beings were kept as chattel. The Nuremberg Laws were also passed through all the proper “legal” channels but that doesn’t change the fact that the Nazis needed to be destroyed. The Confederacy’s destruction was a moral imperative in much the same way.

            And no, these monuments were built after reconstruction to celebrate the re-ascendance of white supremacy and to position secession as a just cause when any person with a shred of moral fiber in their body can see that it was not in any way.

            This poem, published in 1922 in the Times-Picayune, pretty much sums up the feelings of the people who celebrated this statue:

            He stands calm and firm. . . / watching with prophetic eyes / His beloved Southland: seeing in her / Cleaner American stock the saving strain / Which yet will right the balance / ‘Twixt conflicting alien hordes / And hold straight the course / Of America’s Ship of State / Toward the ultimate goal / Of a homogenous people

          • Tim D

            Sums up the feelings according to who? You? Your continued comparisons between the Nazis and Confederates is predictable of those on your side, just as your previous comment “This is something that only white people are capable of thinking”, basically calling me a narrow-minded bigot (that after already calling me a clown). Is there more name-calling you want to toss my way?
            The short-sighted, Taliban/Isis mentality of removing historic monuments is shameful. Who next? Jackson in Jackson Square?

          • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

            According to the Times-Picayune. Perhaps I should have mentioned that the poem was written specifically about the Lee statue. I do find it rather amusing that you decry to Nazi comparison while falling back on an ISIS/Taliban comparison of your own. I wonder, did you compare the US military to the Taliban when we helped topple the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq? No, I imagine you viewed it as a perfectly reasonable response to decades of tyranny, just as thousands of people in New Orleans view taking down the Lee statue as a perfectly reasonable response to the decline of the white supremacist order that ruled this city for centuries.

            In any case, the Nazi comparison was made to illustrate the point that legality is often an irrelevant detail. Morally speaking, the violation of human rights taking place in the Confederacy was a far greater issue than the violation of states’ rights that demanding an end to slavery required. Again, one would have to be white and totally unsympathetic to the plight of slaves to think the preservation of states rights was of greater importance than giving freedom to millions of people who were being tortured, murdered and raped on a regular basis.

          • Tim D

            You continue to ignore the fact that not all Rebs (and Union soldiers) joined up over the issue of slavery.

          • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

            I ignore it because it is completely irrelevent. Not all German soldiers joined up so they could exterminate Jews or raze Eastern Europe to ground. Not all Japanese soldiers joined up so they could subjugate China. However this is exactly what all of these soldiers did regardless of whether or not it was their reason for fighting. Confederate soldiers had plenty of reasons, good and bad, for fighting but it doesn’t change the fact that they ultimately fought to defend the indefensible institution of slavery. They spilled their blood so that rich oligarchs could continue to keep human beings as chattel. So they could continue to rape, torture and murder human beings with impunity.

            Poor dumb saps have been roped into fighting for all sorts of terrible things throughout history. The most evil armies in history have been filled with rank and file men who simply thought they were doing their duty. Such is the nature of war. The fact that countless Confederate soldiers thought they were defending their homeland when they were, in fact, defending the institution of slavery has no effect on the justness of the Confederate cause. The fact that Robert E Lee fought for the sovereignty of Virginia does not change the fact that the only reason Virginia was asserting its sovereignty was so that it could maintain the abominable institution of slavery. The Confederacy was the “bad guy” in the Civil War, regardless of whether or not Southerners have come to terms with this truth.

            Tearing down these statues is no different than tearing down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. The tyrannical, white supremacist regime that ran New Orleans for centuries was ousted long ago, and this statue should have come down then. Better late than never.

          • Tim D

            Obviously irrelevant to you. Saddam Hussein, the Nazis, and the WWII Japanese are irrelevant in the context of this conversation IMHO. What about Union officers that resigned their commissions when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued? They had no interest in fighting a war over slavery, they were “Unionists”. That does not fit too neatly into your argument. I suppose the US Federal soldiers were just “poor dumb saps” in your way of seeing things.

          • Take ‘Em Down ASAP

            You really can’t help but miss the point, can you? The individual beliefs and motivations of the people involved are completely immaterial here. What matters is the ultimate outcome of the causes they fought for. The Nazis, Japanese, etc. are completely relevant because good men fought for both of them, despite the fact their causes were evil and unworthy of admiration in any sense. The same is true of the Confederacy. You don’t see any statues of Erwin Rommel in Germany and you shouldn’t see any statues of Robert E. Lee for the same. The big problem in all of this, at the end of the day, is that many Southerners are unable to admit that the Confederacy’s cause was evil and unworthy of admiration. The Germans, at the very least, have come to terms with the Nazis being terrible. Plenty of Southerners wish they could go back to the days when black people were enslaved or, at a minimum, when they knew their place beneath the white man and we all know this to be true even if most of the Southerners who think like this would never admit it. In any case, the best way to solve this problem would be to have the people of New Orleans vote on it. In a town that is 60% black and home to a considerable amount of liberal white people, I have no little doubt that most would agree we should not a honor a man who got thousands of people killed (including, through his stubborn refusal to surrender, many Southerners) so that his state could maintain the institution of slavery. The Lost Cause crowd is disproportionately old anyway, so if it doesn’t happen now you can be sure it will happen in a generation.