Preserving history, enlightening future
Louisiana has a unique history, and its historic treasures should be properly preserved and honored.
But our state is at a crossroads as to how we learn from our past and what kind of future we really want.
In New Orleans, the mayor and city council decided to remove several monuments. Public opinion polls showed that 73 percent of Louisianians were against the removal of the statues.
All were historic antiques, over a century old, and included monuments honoring some of our nation’s greatest historical figures, President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, a native of St. Bernard Parish and a longtime resident of New Orleans.
Many reasons were given by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu for removing the monuments, but such selective debatable historical revisionism does nothing but create division and disunity, as it has done in that city and in our state.
Now the question is, what happens to the statues?
The mayor says the city will auction them off, like it does with other surplus property.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who is Louisiana’s chief historic preservationist, wants professional historic preservationists to decide where and how they should be displayed, since New Orleans city government doesn’t want them.
The state of Louisiana should have a say in how these historic treasures should be disposed of, since all Louisiana taxpayers give millions of dollars every year to promote New Orleans tourism, fix their highways and streets, help pay their police and firefighters and educate their children.
Landrieu reportedly told Nungesser that the state of Louisiana can submit an request for proposal bid package like any other potential bidder.
The people of Louisiana deserve more consideration than that.
If the mayor won’t listen to reason, the Legislature needs to step in and make sure the interests of the state are given due consideration.
Preserving Louisiana history, educating Louisiana children and letting future generations know the true history of our state, can’t be dismissed as mere surplus New Orleans property.
In this Friday, May 19, 2017, photo, workers prepare to take down the statue of former Confederate general Robert E. Lee, which stands over 100 feet tall, in Lee Circle in New Orleans. Mississippi Rep. Karl Oliver of Winona apologized on Monday, May 22, for saying Louisiana leaders should be lynched for removing Confederate monuments, only after his comment sparked broad condemnation in both states. The post was made after three Confederate monuments and a monument to white supremacy were removed in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)