Friday, 18 September 2015 20:35

Ugly face of Landrieu's New Orleans confederate monument removal

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mitchIn his bid to remove four Confederate monuments, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has divided the city over an issue that until recently was not being discussed. The Mayor turned a non-issue into a controversy when he decided to make the removal of the monuments a top priority of his administration. Unfortunately, while the Mayor and his underlings spend precious time on the supposed problem of four inanimate objects, too many of his living and breathing constituents are facing the threat of violent crime on the streets of New Orleans.

 

The crime problem in New Orleans is real, while the monument problem was manufactured by Landrieu. It all started in the days after a racist madman killed 9 African American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. In the aftermath, pictures were released showing the killer next to a Confederate flag. Ever since, there has been a variety of attempts throughout the nation to remove Confederate symbols such as the flag and monuments. 

Landrieu seized upon the tragedy to target the Confederate monuments in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the issue is extremely divisive at a time when true unity is needed. Removing part of our history is not a unifying move, it is destructive. Of course, the Mayor knows quite well that the issue is controversial; however, he must believe that it will be popular with the majority African American population in New Orleans. Thus, it could very well be a crass attempt to garner political support among African American voters. The Mayor may attempt to change the charter to extend his tenure for a third term or run for another prominent position such as Congress. It may also attract the attention of the next Democrat President who could reward Landrieu with a cabinet position in a future administration. While all of this may be beneficial for Landrieu’s political career, it is very detrimental to the city he represents. 

Whatever his political motivations, the monument removal effort has been a disaster in New Orleans. Since the Mayor’s announcement, there have been numerous hearings, summits, workshops and other activities to gather citizen input. In each gathering, opinions have been divided and the arguments have been rather heated. Of course, the Mayor knew all of this would happen when he first announced the issue. He is a local version of Barack Obama, using hot button racial issues to divide the people he represents. 

At a hearing yesterday at New Orleans City council chambers, Chief Administrative Officer, Andy Kopplin, claimed that the removal of the monuments would only cost $144,000 and that an anonymous donor had offered to pay for the removal costs. This price is laughably low and contradicts the estimate of over $1 million provided by the Monumental Task Committee, an organization committed to preserving and maintaining all monuments in the city. 

Also, at the hearing, it was announced that it cost $4,000 annually to remove graffiti from the monuments, even though the Monumental Task Committee offers to provide these services for free. Police Chief Michael Harrison also recommended that the monuments be removed because these Confederate symbols had become “flashpoints for criminal activity and civil unrest.” He did not want to dedicate “manpower” to protect these “inanimate statues.”

At this point, the only reason the statues are attracting attention and criminal activity is because of Mayor Landrieu. He is responsible for the unrest being created by this issue as prior to the monument removal crusade, there was relative peace and tranquility at the four sites. 

Fortunately, the current Governor and the majority of the candidates for Lt. Governor and Governor are opposed to removing the monuments. Clearly, a majority of voters across Louisiana would also oppose such an initiative. Hopefully, through legislative action in the next session or legal action in local, state and federal courts, the Mayor’s quest can be stopped. Only time will tell whether New Orleans becomes the latest city to succumb to the disease of political correctness or stands firm it its appreciation of all of its history, the good the bad and the ugly.  

At this point, the only reason the statues are attracting attention and criminal activity is because of Mayor Landrieu. He is responsible for the unrest being created by this issue as prior to the monument removal crusade, there was relative peace and tranquility at the four sites. 

Fortunately, the current Governor and the majority of the candidates for Lt. Governor and Governor are opposed to removing the monuments. Clearly, a majority of voters across Louisiana would also oppose such an initiative. Hopefully, through legislative action in the next session or legal action in local, state and federal courts, the Mayor’s quest can be stopped. Only time will tell whether New Orleans becomes the latest city to succumb to the disease of political correctness or stands firm it its appreciation of all of its history, the good the bad and the ugly. 

Jeff Crouere

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]

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