To celebrate his victory, Landrieu hosted a party at Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue. Ironically, this historic building was once used as a slave auction house. In addition, the bodies of both Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard lay in state at Gallier Hall.
Despite the connections to both slavery and the Confederacy, Landrieu chose Gallier Hall to hold a celebration to mark the end of his racially divisive and counterproductive campaign. It began in the summer of 2015, in the aftermath of the murders of African American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Despite no grassroots effort in New Orleans to remove Confederate monuments in New Orleans, Landrieu adopted it as his signature cause.
He pushed the issue through the City Council, the courts and successfully intimidated both the Louisiana Legislature and the City Park Improvement Association from doing anything to stop it.
This misguided effort to erase history made national news and helped promote Mitch Landrieu in the Democrat Party. He has delusions of grandeur and believes that destroying Confederate monuments can elevate his status in the Democrat Party and make him a viable presidential candidate. Democrats would be wise to look at his real record in New Orleans.
Landrieu’s tenure as Mayor of New Orleans has been one of pure destruction. Under his administration, the New Orleans Police Department has been decimated while public safety has been diminished. The city retains the unfortunate distinction of being the nation’s “Murder Capital.” Street conditions are getting worse and panhandling is rampant. To pay for his administration’s “services,” taxes and fees have increased. The Mayor has also installed more parking meters, raised rates, added many more red light and speed cameras and developed other schemes to siphon more money from struggling taxpayers.
While the city has deteriorated, Landrieu decided to deflect attention away from his terrible record and focus on removing Confederate monuments. In the process, he made them the source of ire and protest and racially divided a city known for good race relations.
Throughout his obsessive campaign, he has not exactly been truthful. He claimed that Robert E. Lee had no connection to New Orleans and never been to the city; however, in fact, Lee visited four times, information easily documented.
In court, city attorneys promised that experts would be used to remove the valuable statues. In reality, the Mayor used city workers and firemen, who are not trained in this type of work, to remove statues created by world class sculptors.
The city also promised to store the statues in a warehouse, but they have been placed in a de-facto junkyard, easily visible and accessible to vandals and miscreants looking to damage the monuments.
After these victories against history, Landrieu may join forces with radical anti-monument activists and destroy more irreplaceable statues. At the very least, we can expect plenty more changes of street and school names.
The overall national impact of this quest has been quite negative. After destroying historic monuments and tourist attractions it should not be a surprise to see the number of visitors to New Orleans decline. Among disgusted local people, many have vowed to boycott the city in the wake of the monument removals.
Despite these consequences, Landrieu will celebrate at Gallier Hall and pat himself on the back for everything he has ruined. Just like Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned, Landrieu will live in infamy for reveling in the destruction of New Orleans