Orleans Parish GOP Calls For Retention Of Most Monuments, Creation Of New Ones
NEW ORLEANS – The Republican Parish Executive Committee of New Orleans last week passed a resolution urging the City to remove only one of the monuments targeted by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and to create a new monument to P.B.S. Pinchback, the Louisiana native who became the first African-American governor in our nation's history.
In it's Friday, October 9, 2015, resolution, the Orleans RPEC called for the City to remove the Liberty Place monument, but to retain statues erected to honor Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard. Landrieu has called for all four to be removed, since they honor slave-owners and historical figures of the Confederacy.
"These individuals were born in the early 19th century and honorably carried out the duties of their high offices in the mid-19th Century, and they acted according to the standards of their time when slavery was widely accepted, although all three staunchly opposed the international slave trade; therefore, they should not be judged according to modern standards of morality but rather by the standards of their time and place," the resolution reads in part.
The resolution also points out the familiarity New Orleanians and visitors to the city have with the monuments, and the unwise expenditure of funds that would be required to remove them.
"The streets and monuments were named after these individuals in their honor many decades ago and the inhabitants of New Orleans have become accustomed to the existing names and monuments; further, that the cost to remove the existing names and monuments and replace them will likely run into the millions of dollars, at a time when the city cannot afford basic services," the resolution states.
"We agree with the mayor that the Liberty Place monument has no value that would justify retaining it, but the others are both historically and culturally significant," said Jay Batt, chair of the Orleans RPEC and a former New Orleans City Councilman. "Instead of focusing on removing these monuments, we believe the City should create new monuments to honor African-Americans whose contributions to our history and culture were as or more significant. In addition to being the first African-American governor, Gov. Pinchback was an extraordinary personage, and is worthy of a monument of his own. There are numerous other people of color whose historical standing would warrant such an honor, and we would fully support such an effort. Instead of making fewer monuments, we need to make more."
Batt said the monuments have existed for decades with no complaint.
"This manufactured issue is divisive in a time when great strides have been made towards unity," Batt said. "We should honor our past while focusing on our future."