The Tragedy of New Orleans
Ray L. Parker
A Contemporary Travesty
The City of New Orleans, following months of legal efforts to stop their destructive plans, has removed three Confederate Monuments -- the Robert E. Lee Monument, the Jefferson Davis Monument, and the General Beauregard Statue. These monuments have been in place since the late 1800s and early 1900s to honor the South's defensive efforts to retain its liberty, freedom, and self-determination. The current cultural and political climate does not recognize the Southern struggle as a time of duty and honor, but rather as a time of hate and bigotry. Current cultural thought would have us "put away" all reminders of that period in American history, condemn the Southerners who were part of that struggle, marginalize those today with a high opinion of Southern heritage, and have the South sit on the eternal stool of shame expressing an unending apology. This, however, we will not do!
Historically there have often been those desiring to remove tributes and markers to past historical boundaries. Even in the Scripture the author of Proverbs gave this command, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set" (22:28). In another place he wrote again, "Remove not the old landmark" (23:10). Moses wrote, "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark, which they of old time have set" (Deuteronomy 19:14). Later he wrote, "Cursed be he who removeth his neighbor's landmark. And all the people say, Amen" (27:17).
Contemporarily we view the terror system ISIS removing the monuments of Christianity and other items of historic and religious importance. Their "mindset" is, "If I don't agree with it, or if I don't like it, I will remove it. It matters not to me if it is historic or if it is valued by others, I will remove it!" How sad to see that same mentality at work in our own country -- and sadder still, that mentality continues to grow with vile, hateful results. It is truly a tragic day when a Southern city removes tributes to those who fought to defend the South.
A Historical Tribute
The Robert E. Lee Monument
The New Orleans' Robert E. Lee Monument, one of the earliest Southern monuments to Lee, was commissioned by the Robert E. Lee Monumental Association of New Orleans. Plans for this monument began just one month following Lee's death in 1870. The Association raised money for the monument through public donations. The bronze statue of Lee cost some $10,000 (that would be a quarter of a million dollars in today's currency). After fourteen years of fundraising and construction, the monument was dedicated on February 22, 1884. The dedication attendees included veterans of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia as well as the Federal Grand Army of the Republic. Robert E. Lee was considered at that time in both the North and the South as the essence of military leadership, courage, and loyalty.
The Jefferson Davis Monument
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, died in the city of New Orleans on December 6, 1889. The local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy almost immediately formed the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association to plan construction of "an appropriate monument commemorative of the life and services of the only president of the Confederacy." The Association worked closely with the United Confederate Veterans in the memorial planning.
The first challenge was to raise the $15,000 necessary to construct the Monument. The United Daughters sponsored plays, held auctions, and asked for donations. The City of New Orleans donated. The Louisiana Legislature donated. The people of the city donated. The monument, cast in bronze and standing on a granite pedestal, was finished in 1911. The engraving on the Monument states that Davis was one of the "fittest men" of the South. A "profound student of the Constitution," a "majestic orator," and declares that Davis was "enshrined in the hearts of the people for who he suffered."
The General Beauregard Statue
Confederate General G. T. Beauregard was a native of Louisiana. He commanded the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. He fought at First Manassas, Shiloh, and defended Charleston from Federal occupation for two years. He died in New Orleans on February 20, 1893. He was the last survivor of the top Confederate military commanders.
Almost immediately following his death, the Beauregard Monument Association was formed. Contributions for the monument came from the City of New Orleans, the Louisiana Legislature, and the people of the city. The City Park Commission donated the land upon which the Monument would be placed. The statue was unveiled on November 11, 1915 and depicts General Beauregard atop a horse and stands on a marble platform.
A Current Response
The situation in New Orleans is sad indeed and cannot go unanswered by those who love the South. Already the National Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Louisiana Division have stood against this prejudicial move by the City of New Orleans. To quote SCV Commander-in-Chief Thomas Strain, "The National SCV entered into ... litigation ... in an attempt to block the removal of historical monuments placed in the city. Thus far, after over thirty thousand dollars and countless hours of discussion and litigation, the fine men of Louisiana have basically been railroaded by (Mayor) Landrieu and his cronies over the years."
Commander Strain continues, "After much consultation with the Division Commander of Louisiana and members of my staff I am calling for a BOYCOTT of the City of New Orleans by the members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and all right-minded people. Please visit Confederate Memorial Hall in this once fine Southern city but do not spend any of your hard earned dollars otherwise in the City. We must stand strong and let the historical terrorists and haters know who we are and what we stand for!
"New Orleans is no different than any other large town in the Southeast, and tourism dollars are what they thrive upon. New Orleans’ busiest time of the year is Mardi Gras, and the money raised every year is used to promote the Mayor and City Council’s agenda. While I encourage you to visit Louisiana and the countless towns and communities that host Mardi Gras festivals, please avoid New Orleans. Let our voices and dollars be heard!!!
"Therefore, I call for a BOYCOTT of New Orleans, LA and highly encourage each of you to spread the word to friends and family. We need to show Mr. Landrieu and his cronies that we will not stand for his ISIS tactics and the absolute destruction of OUR history under the cloak of darkness with snipers on rooftops. We must collectively let the powers that be know that we will not allow OUR HISTORY and the world’s history to be destroyed or re-written by a few despicable people in power."
I know that you will be in prayer for Commander Strain and the other leaders and members of the SCV as we continue to press forward to represent aright the Confederate soldier and his good name.