The beginning of the end of New Orleans started Monday morning at 2 a.m. as masked men in unmarked vehicles with no license plates removed the first of four Confederate monuments slated for an unknown destination. There was no transparency in this action as the public has not been informed who paid for the removal or what company was involved. In fact, the Mayor may have used public employees for this project, a questionable use of public resources for a cash-strapped city.
Interestingly, it is a violation of the law to wear a mask in public when it is not Mardi Gras or Halloween, but, of course, Mayor Landrieu has no concern with the law. He is hell bent on becoming the Mayor who removed the Confederate monuments. Never mind that his four African American predecessors did not bother with such an agenda. Presumably, they were more worried about the real problems facing New Orleans, such as the economy, infrastructure and public safety.
The monuments are being removed because of the actions of one man, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He forced this divisive issue on the people of New Orleans not because of a groundswell of support or the vote of the people. In fact, polls show that removing of monuments has only lukewarm support in New Orleans. Not surprisingly, in a city with a 50%+ unemployment rate among African American men and a high violent crime rate, people are more concerned about other issues.
Mayor Landrieu embraced this issue to divert attention from the serious problems that he has not come close to solving. He announced his campaign in the summer of 2015 in the aftermath of a shooting tragedy in South Carolina. He used an unrelated mass shooting as the rationale to remove four Confederate monuments in New Orleans.
Surely, he embarked on this crusade to score points in the Democrat Party and possibly to further his political career in this city or state. He may have hoped for huge support for the monument removal issue and to change the city charter, which would have allowed him to serve for a third term. Fortunately, there was no voter enthusiasm for more of Mitch Landrieu as Mayor.
Statewide, his obsession with removing monuments has harmed his political standing and he has no possibility for higher office. With Hillary Clinton thankfully losing, he was not tapped for a cabinet position or another high ranking government position. Thus, he will be left with the option of lobbying or taking a position with a liberal think tank.
When the history books are written on the Landrieu administration, the verdict will certainly be negative. As Mayor, Landrieu presided over a city ranked as the Murder Capital of the nation. He decimated the police department and the officer ranks declined by 500 or more during his tenure.
The rate of violence has significantly increased near the end of his term with a dysfunctional criminal justice system and a District Attorney’s office that the Mayor refuses to fully fund. While he can find resources to take down monuments, he will not fund an office dedicated to keeping criminals off the streets of New Orleans. It is quite a pathetic insight into his mayoral priorities.
New census data shows that the population of New Orleans is now declining for the first time since Katrina. Who can blame people for not wanting to live in an unsafe city with horrible streets conditions led by a Mayor who is primarily concerned about his political ambitions?
Last night, Mayor Landrieu was interviewed by MSNBCs’ liberal host, Rachel Maddow. While it was a meeting on the minds on the Confederate monument issue, the interview mostly exposed the insatiable desire of Mayor Landrieu for national attention.
Hopefully, he will soon be receiving some unwelcome national publicity regarding his refusal to work with federal immigration officials. This week, the Justice Department sent a letter to New Orleans and eight other cities decrying the lack of cooperation and communication between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. While Landrieu denies a lack of cooperation, the Justice Department has a much different interpretation.
This is another issue that should be at the forefront of the Mayor’s agenda, but, instead he is preparing his secret crew of contractors to remove another monument, possibly as early as 1 a.m. tomorrow morning.
If the Mayor is so confident that this is the correct path to pursue, he should take down the monuments in broad daylight and let everyone know who is involved. This secrecy and timing of these activities is very revealing. In fact, it is reminiscent of the old saying, “Nothing good happens after midnight.” Certainly this is true today in New Orleans under the leadership of egomaniacal Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
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