“Landrieu’s Vanity Project.” That’s how a recent National Review article described Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s recent assault against New Orleans monuments. Destroying monuments and artwork is no different than burning books. History’s first rule: Never tear down history. If a monument needs to be modified, then add to it; build other monuments.

If ever such destruction is deemed to be justified by a perceived righteousness, then no one should be shocked, or upset, at the nightly scenes of ancient temples, artwork and churches being blown up in the name of defending against “idolatry.” That included beheading the curator.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond has correctly called for careful study and analysis, but to the politicians, that seems to mean nothing. Well-meaning people can certainly disagree, but without study we trend toward self-righteousness. A recent open letter from some New Orleans clergy said that “the power of symbols” justify the removal of monuments. But aren’t these same clergymen outraged as they watch their own “symbols” of the Ten Commandments, Christian crosses, menorahs, and Stars of David hauled off by those proclaiming “freedom from religion?”

Would the mayor champion tearing down Jesuit churches since the Jesuits began their mission to New Orleans with a plantation, worked by slaves? His sudden attention to our “nuisance” monuments began with his shameful political exploitation of the cold-blooded, murder of nine innocent black Christians at prayer. The murderer’s hope was to begin “another civil war.” What motivates the mayor and the city council to advance this killer’s agenda?

Ronald Drez

Author and historian

New Orleans