The Jefferson Davis statue was removed last week.
Before that, a group of protesters kept vigil, all carrying huge Confederate battle flags and the state flag of Mississippi standing at the statue’s base. I passed them almost daily, but one morning they were gone, a fence had been erected around the site wherein four police vans and flatbed trucks were parked and several police officers were just standing around. The irony of the crime and murder rate in New Orleans posed against having all these officers standing there not crime fighting was not lost on me. Well, some days elapsed, and again, in secrecy of the night, the statue was removed by masked men. As I drove to work that morning, I discovered the long gone and much needed city buses were back on Canal Street which meant the slow-moving Canal streetcars were not operating and I figured it had something to do with the Jeff Davis statue. Driving down Canal, I came to a sign that said the rest of the way was closed, find an alternative route. Well, thanks very much. It turns out that the pedestal upon which old Jeff Davis stood was much too heavy for the crane to lift, hence the traffic snafu and jams. Thanks Mitch. When I pass the park where the statue once stood, it is a gaping hole looking like a toothless smile. An African American coworker told me her African American friend once lived across the street from that statue and it’s little park where her children happily played on the swings and sliding boards there despite the presence of the Jefferson Davis statue, amazingly enough. I can’t imagine what the city is going are going to replace it with, well, yes, maybe I can.
Two nights ago, the exquisite equestrian statue of P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance of the exquisite City Park, which faced Bayou St. John and Moss Street, who was a really fine man, also came down, dead of night, masked men, but this time a brass band joined in to celebrate its removal. That made me think of the song I’ve posted here that I always loved, used to sing with the radio when it played driving along PCH to work, and a song that captures the suffering of a people, who bled, died, sacrificed, grieved and starved for something they believed in reflective of their time. Per Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans’ chief political hack, all of that was nothing. In the vast cosmic theme of things, and my hunches and instincts talking, just as when I asked Edwin Edwards to do something about the cruelty of animal experiments performed at LSU Medical School, and he responded telling me he was not against them, this is all going to boomerang badly onto Landrieu because he messed with something sacred, misrepresented what it really stood for, and cheapened his own people’s heritage. He made the statement that these statues don’t represent the history of New Orleans. Really? What the hell was the Civil War, Louisiana’s involvement in the Confederacy, and on a personal note, did my great-grandfather Theodore not really serve as a captain in the Confederate Army? Words from a political hack and non-leader. This man is the ultimate coward and what he did stands for nothing.
All that remains now is old Marse Robert at Lee Circle. The other monuments that were removed have been spotted by WWL-TV in a storage yard in the Desire area, where one of the worst crime ridden projects ever stood to the point that not even the cops would answer calls there at night.
So, because I don’t think this song will ever be played again on a radio in New Orleans, and one day might be banned since we seem to be getting a little more fascist every day, I’m posting it here. And it seems so fitting an accompaniment to what happened when Beauregard, who supported desegregation after the Civil War, came down.